Two of the four co-founders of All India Bakchod (AIB) – Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba – will not be a part of Prime Originals Comicstaan 2 and Gormint, reports Reuters. Bhat was held responsible for his inaction in complaints of sexual harassment against writer-comedian Utsav Chakraborty, while Khamba was accused of sexual misconduct, in the wake of #MeToo movement.
Comedian Kanan Gill, who was also accused of similar assault has been allowed to continue with Comicstaan 2. MediaNama has reached out to Amazon Prime for a comment and will update the story when they respond.
Bhat and Gill served as judges and mentors on the first season of the reality comedy hunt series, while Khamba was the showrunner and creator of the political satire Gormint. AIB was producing both Gormint and Comicstaan with talent and event management firm Only Much Louder (OML) for Amazon Prime.
OML has also been at the centre of sexual harassment allegations. According to an article in The Caravan, a woman aged 17 (in 2014) met Chakraborty during an event organized by the company. Chakraborty asked for her number and repeatedly messaged her asking for pictures of her cleavage. The woman said that she had notified OML of this. “They just ask you to stop making a scene,” she said. “At least that’s what my boss did.” Following this, the girl left OML without completing her internship. The article also featured accounts of women who had accused founder and ex-CEO Vijay Nair of harassing them. It reports that Nair’s position allowed him to act “brazenly and with impunity.” OML issued a detailed statement on the allegation against the company.
OML continues to produce online content for Hotstar and Amazon Prime, but both the platforms are yet to issue a statement on the matter.
#MeToo in Indian comedy circles
Utsav Chakraborty, a frequent collaborator with the comedy collective, was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women. One of the accusers said that she had confronted Tanmay Bhat, co-founder and CEO, with her experience with Chakraborty. Bhat apologised for not doing anything, and said that Chakraborty’s explanation had convinced him. Chakraborty was accused of untoward sexual advances and behaviour towards women, some of who were minors, which he denied. He deleted the social media posts where he tried to explain his misconduct.
Separately, an anonymous woman levelled allegations of sexual harassment against Gursimran Khamba. Khamba released a personal statement denying that he had violated consent but in the interim, he has been sent on a temporary leave of absence from AIB until there is more clarity on the matter. AIB, in the statement also said that its co-founder Tanmay Bhat would stepping aside as the CEO .
Edit: We have updated this article to include information from The Caravan.