Comedian Aditi Mittal has apologised to her colleague Kaneez Surka after the latter accused Aditi of kissing her without her consent at a stand-up event in 2016. Aditi shared a long note on Twitter, giving her version of events and how Kaneez has asked her for a public apology only now so she could find closure.
Aditi clarified in her note that the kiss was part of the act and was meant as a joke. She also wrote that unlike what Kaneez had accused her of, she did not use her tongue to kiss her.
— Aditi (hot takes 4 koolkidz) (@awryaditi) October 10, 2018
Aditi also added that she apologised to Kaneez last year and that the latter had accepted her apology too. However, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, Kaneez had now asker her to apologize to her publicly. Here is her full note:
In January 2016, I was a participant of an open mic at Andheri (West) in Mumbai. Kaneez Surkha was the host. While walking up on stage to take the mic from Kaneez I gave her a peck on the lips (there was no tongue) as a joke as a part of the act. The intentions were not sexual in nature. I realised that after talking to Kaneez that it was a violation of her space and to this day bothers her very much. For this I am unconditionally sorry.
We spoke about this matter at length in 2017. I issued an unconditional apology for making her feel that way. She accepted my apology and said that she knew my intention was not to make her feel the way she did. We discussed the rampant sexism in AIB which she was just discovering and promised to have each other’s back in a boys club.
As far as “turning hostile” was concerned- I began to consciously avoid any place that she or anyone from those social circles might be, out of respect for her space. It was done as a cautionary measure.
In light of events that have been transpiring, she said that she would get closure if I apologised it publicly and gave me two days to speak up.
Kaneez, I am sorry.
Earlier, in the account shared on Twitter, Surka had said, “Two years ago, at a comedy show, I was hosting at Andheri Base, in the presence of an audience of 100 and many comedians, Aditi Mittal walked up on the stage and forcibly kissed me on my mouth out of the blue and put her tongue in my mouth, while I was still on the stage and without my consent. It left me humiliated, shocked and completely stripped of choice. Every person is entitled to choice and boundaries and she violated mine.”
The comic, who recently appeared as one of the judges on Amazon Prime Video’s Comicstaan, said when she mustered the courage to reach out to Mittal a year ago, who first apologised but soon turned hostile towards her, leaving her confused and hurt.
Surka said seeing Mittal’s name all over social media as “a champion of the cause” had been troubling her for some time.
— Kaneez Surka (@kaneezsurka) October 10, 2018
Surka said she once again spoke to Mittal on Tuesday via a mutual friend to come out with a public apology and let her keep her identity secret. But this time Mittal “denied kissing me on the mouth, gaslighted me and asked to cross check”. “I have proof but I thought we believe the victim. Her actions yesterday have hurt me further and burdened me with the task of having to do this but I don’t want to be silent anymore,” she added.
In the #MeToo movement which is surging ahead, Mittal is the first woman to have been named for sexual harassment.
The campaign first hit the comedy industry last week when Utsav Chakraborty was accused by multiple women for harassment while AIB co-founder Gursimran Khamba too has been accused of misconduct. AIB’s Tanmay Bhat has stepped away from the comedy collective while Khamba has been sent on “temporary leave of absence”.
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First Published: Oct 11, 2018 10:47 IST