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Rediff.com  » News » AIB's Tanmay Bhat 'steps away', Gursimran Khamba sent on leave

AIB's Tanmay Bhat 'steps away', Gursimran Khamba sent on leave

October 08, 2018 19:02 IST

Both stand-up comedians have apologised for their behaviour.

IMAGE: All India Bakchod's Gursimran Khamba and Tanmay Bhat. Photograph: @AIB/Twitter

In light of the allegations of misconduct against All India Bakchod founders Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba, the comedy collective announced on Monday, October 8, that Bhat will step away from the business immediately while Khamba will take a leave of absence.

While Bhat has come under attack for his inaction on the complaints against writer-comedian Utsav Chakraborty, Khamba has been accused of sexual misconduct.

On Friday, October 5, several women had come out on Twitter alleging that Utsav Chakraborty, who worked with AIB on a freelance basis, had sexually harassed them.

Bhat then issued a statement apologising for his inaction (see the full statement here) as it was revealed that he was made aware of Chakraborty's behaviour, but did nothing about it.

 

When it comes to Khamba's case, a woman, requesting anonymity, posted her statement through the Twitter handle of a journalist.

She said she and the comedian had 'hooked up two-three times, consensually and continued being friends', but things escalated when on two separate occasions, Khamba tried 'repeatedly to make out with me while we were hanging out'.

The woman said the comic later realised he had feelings for her, but by that time she was already in a relationship.

'This led to drunk calls, threat to ruin friendships, emotional blackmail and (emotional) abuse that went on for five months,' the woman alleged.

'My equation with him has led to incredible stress, anxiety and a burden I carry even today in terms of how I conduct myself and navigate relationships, trust and general insecurity issues,' the woman said.

The woman said she decided to come forward because she was sick of the hypocrisy when he is 'lauded as a smart, level headed woke' man.

'It makes me sick to see people celebrate him when they don't know the context and costs.'

Khamba acknowledged misbehaving on being rejected, but said he never violated her consent.

'I am aware of the person who's stated the incident... in 2015 we had hooked up consensually multiple times. But I categorically deny the incident mentioned... I was not forceful,' Khamba claimed.

'It is true that I developed feelings for her while she was dating someone else. During that time given our friendship and history I felt rejected and was angry and did not behave appropriately at all,' he said.

'It had become a toxic relationship and I'd like to apologise unconditionally for it like I had done in the past. That behaviour was extremely uncalled for. She rightly stopped talking to me,' Khamba said.

The comedy collective in its statement said it faced an uncertain future.

'Truthfully, we don't know what this means for the future of AIB or whether there is one,' Vidhi Jotwani, human resources head at AIB, stated.

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