Music composer Anu Malik has stepped down from the jury panel of singing reality show, Indian Idol, a statement from Sony Entertainment Television read. Malik has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women amid the #MeToo movement raging across the country.
The television channel’s statement says a replacement will be found for him who will join the other two judges on the show, Vishal Dadlani and Neha Kakkar. “Anu Malik is no longer a part of Indian Idol jury panel. The show will continue its planned schedule & we’ll invite some of the biggest names in Indian music as guests to join Vishal and Neha to judge extraordinary talent of Indian Idol season 10,” the statement read.
Malik also shared a statement saying he is taking a break from the show. “I, Anu Malik, have decided to take a break from Indian Idol as I am currently unable to focus on my work on the show. The channel has been kind to agree for the same. Thank you,” Malik said.
After singers Sona Mohapatra and Shweta Pandit accused Malik of sexual harassment, two budding singers levelled similar allegations against him.
Shweta had said in her post that she was just 15 when Malik made her uncomfortable by asking to kiss him. “Had to go back to my worst memory as a teenage girl today to write this and speak up – its now or never. This is my #MeToo and have to warn young girls about #AnuMalik & let you know your #TimesUp @IndiaMeToo. Thank you @sonamohapatra for speaking up about him & supporting this,” she wrote on Twitter.
Earlier, in an Instagram post, singer Sona Mahapatra wrote, “To all the young girls & women who are coming out with their experiences with this creep, journalists, ‘fans’ & even kids from college, know that you are not alone. This guy, #KailashKher is a serial predator & has been for years as are many others like Anu Malik in the industry. I cannot be tweeting about everyone cus I work 18 hour work days & have a life to live & breathe in.” Sona had tweeted again on Saturday saying by not taking action against Malik, makers of the show are complicit.
A lawyer for the music director Thursday denied the claims against him, saying India’s #MeToo movement is being used for his client’s “character assassination”. Malik has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Noted lyricist Sameer Anjaan also came to Malik’s defence and tweeted that he was present during the time Pandit is talking about but no such incident took place.