As the the #MeToo movement picks up further, women in India are coming out with their stories of harassment, with big names in Bollywood like Nana Patekar, Alok Nath and Kailash Kher standing accused.
Amongst the turmoil, a video of Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has resurfaced and gone viral online. The clip shows Khan talking about allegations of him hitting women after actress Aishwarya Rai had accused him of being physically and mentally abusive in 2002.
Answering questions by a journalist from the New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV) channel, he said: “Yeah, now that woman has said that I have. I mean there was a journalist Prabhu Chawla who asked me this long time ago, so I just banged the table he got startled, the table really broke. I mean, if I hit somebody, it’s obviously a fight, I am going to be angry. I am going to whack and give it my best shot. I don’t think she would’ve survived it.”
After the video spread online, social media users reacted to Khan’s comments.
User, @Nuri_ibrahim commented on the ‘untouchables’ of the entertainment industry: “I wonder if this burgeoning #MeToo moment in India will touch men like Salman Khan who have been protected by their families, power, and industry links for decades.”
Twitter user, Arjun Madan, @arjunmadan93, highlighted that Rai was one of the first women to come out with allegations against someone in Bollywood: “Let’s not forget that possibly one of the earliest instances of a woman calling her abuser out in Bollywood was when #AishwaryaRaiBachchan accused @BeingSalmanKhan of being mentally and physically abusive towards her.”
Whereas, tweep, Noon Chai, @noon_chai urged Rai to further speak about her experience: “Speak up please Aishwarya Rai, we will support you, we are ready to hear your truth. #istandwithaishwarya #MeToo #MeTooIndia”
User, Dishi Khandelwal, @Thejungleebilli, asked Khan to present his side of the issue: “Still remembering a tweet Salman Khan posted coming in support of Tanushree Dutta. Appreciate the support, but did you forget the time you hit Aishwarya Rai? Why don’t you call yourself out? #metoo”
However, tweep, @Anika074, thought that shifting the focus on Khan hinders the motive of the movement: “I hope media and some people doesn’t shift attention on Salman and transform this ‘me too’ movement in a joke.”