Mumbai: Comedians Aditi Mittal and Mahima Kukreja have called out Tanmay Bhat for using a mental health issue like depression to try and do damage control in the wake of AIB’s fall from grace amid #MeToo allegations.
In a series of Instagram videos last week, Bhat claimed he is suffering from “clinical depression”.
“After everything that happened in October, I’m mentally checked out. I feel almost paralysed and unable to participate socially, online or even offline,” he said.
Bhat was under attack for his inaction in the complaints against comic Utsav Chakraborty during the #MeToo movement in October 2018.
Last month, comedy group AIB announced that Bhat will step down from the post of CEO and the company’s YouTube channel is “dead for the foreseeable future”.
On Sunday, Mittal in a series of tweets blasted Bhat for using depression as merely a good for “public consumption”. She further said the claims sounded insincere as the corporates had pulled out investment from AIB post #MeToo wave hit the comedy collective.
“I remember when I had to hear on the set of a show that I was working on that I gave ‘t** access too soon’ coz it was told by Tanmay Bhat to the 22-year-old writers on that set. I spent a year saying no to work after that coz I was terrified I would have to hear that again… We’ve all been f**ked over by life. But apparently, depression is only newsworthy when someone who had corporates throwing money at him stopped having money thrown at him…
“Sisters out there wanting to be symbols and role models of depressed people not being depressed. Like what part of your life will you not sell for public consumption, again? Like, if you want to play depression victim now, you please acknowledge the system of 19-24 year olds with Macs and Twitter accounts, and men with VC funds that you were ‘friends’ with that led to the depression of so many young women who tried to do comedy at that time,” Mittal wrote.
She recalled being “slut-shamed” by Chakraborty, former comedian at AIB who was outed by comic Mahima Kukreja as an alleged sexual harasser.
“I remember being slut-shamed by Utsav Chakraborty, to a guy that said he liked me. He told the guy ‘Be careful of Aditi, she’s been around.’ It’s kind of why I felt so incredibly strong for Mahima when she spoke up. Because I just couldn’t bear to have more of this happen.”
Allegations against Chakarborty came to light as part of a Twitter thread about the way Indian men behaved onboard a cruise liner.
Chakraborty apparent woke tweet did not sit well with Kukreja who called him out on his own behaviour alleging that he sent her unsolicited pictures of private parts opening a can of worms as many other women, including minors, came forward with similar allegations.
On Monday, Kukreja pointed out the irony in Bhat’s videos saying, nobody bothered about the mental health of women who were harassed.
“Women’s mental health has been great much anxiety etc depression is fun all is great. Just FYI because nobody is asking,” Kukreja said, adding women struggle with mental health issues on a daily basis.
She added, “Also FYI my mental trauma is valid and I’ve f**king dealt with it and will continue to deal with it without hurting women in the process
“I can’t get myself to get on stage regularly to perform comedy because I’m afraid to run into your fav woke comic boys who will trigger me and cause me panic attacks but the who the f**k cares right.”
There were some supportive voices in the comedians’ community with people such as Kaneez Surka, Kunal Kamra, Naveen Richard and Zakir Khan posting messages wishing Bhat good health.
“You are so loved jaan – you don’t even realise how much,” Surka, who had accused Mittal of forcefully kissing her on stage, wrote on Instagram.
Mittal said the kiss, during an open mic, was part of the act but she apologised unconditionally for causing discomfort to Surka.
“We cannot empathise. But we can sympathise. And love. And there is plenty of love over on this side. Just come on over and help yourself to as much as you want buddy,” Naveen Richard said.
Kamra wrote, “We are all rooting for you to come back harder and stronger.”