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Rachel White, Saloni Chopra speak about Sajid Khan's IFTDA suspension

White, who was one of the three women, to have accused the director of sexual harassment, feels the punishment needed to be more severe.

Rachel White, Sajid Khan, Saloni Chopra

Mayur Lookhar

Actress Rachel White, who has levelled allegations of sexual misconduct against filmmaker Sajid Khan, has said that the one-year suspension was perhaps not enough, but she still welcomed the definitive action taken by Indian Film and Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA).

Khan, who was accused of sexual harassment by three women, was suspended for a year by the IFTDA.

Actress White, journalist Karishma Upadhyay and assistant director Saloni Chopra had alleged him of sexual harassment.

We contacted White who felt that the punishment needed to be more severe.

“Lifeless tampered cricket balls get more justice here it seems,” she said.

White expected more, but wanted clarity in the process from day one. When asked to elaborate on it, White said, “From duping women at his apartment on the pretext of work /auditions, inappropriately touching, making obscene remarks, asking sexual favours, he has a reputation which almost eight women have spoken about openly and yet just one year?” White expected more but cleared that she could not tell the IFTDA how to do their jobs.

“If I can put it correctly I am happy for small mercies but considering the number of women that have spoken about him, they should’ve been stricter. The bright side is that his reputation should now serve as a forewarning for others,” said White.

The actress, who features in Hindi and Bengali films, had accused Khan of sexual misconduct during the filming of Humshakals (2014). White decided to speak up about her horrible experience after reading about Chopra’s #MeToo story slamming Khan.

White was in consideration for the third female lead in the Humshakals (2014). Khan had called the actress to his house and misbehaved with her. Apart from passing lewd comments, Khan also asked White to strip.

Chopra, who had worked as a director’s assistant to Khan, had accused the director of sexually and mentally harassing over a period of few months in 2011.

Chopra welcomed the action taken by IFTDA.  

“I’m glad IFTDA has decided to be supportive and understand their responsibility towards the behaviour and power abuse of their members. I hope this isn’t temporary. It’s about time our industry realizes that accepting such behaviour as a normal routine from fellow members makes everyone in the industry equally responsible for this behaviour because you’re just encouraging it,” Chopra told Cinestaan.com.

She called upon the disgraced filmmaker to apologize to each and every woman he abused.

“I really wish Sajid would apologize to the women he’s behaved this way with too. An apology is never the absolute answer or the final outcome, but it’s the first step to accepting your mistake and wanting to change, without that where do people really go from this? His ignorance and denial of his behaviour is only an insult to all the people involved. If he denies everything he’s done, and is banned for a year, what after that? Does he just go  to work again like he never did anything? I think it’s important for him to own up to his doings for anything in our country to change in the right direction. For now, I’m glad for the decisions IFTDA has made, change must begin somewhere," added Chopra.

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Casting Couch Sexual harassment