The recent spate of allegations of sexual harassment against the high and mighty in production houses that make web series and short films have been an headache. The response to the allegations have been as controversial as the allegations themselves. Some have outright denied that something like this has ever happened or even exists in the industry.
People swear that the film and television industry is a good way to make quick money. People also swear that the film and television industry is a great place to work in – such conversations are punctuated with references of film stars who have said in interviews that ‘Bollywood is a family.’ But that facade is slowly fading.
Actors and actresses are coming out with stories about workplace harassment. Sometime last year, Shilpa Shinde came out with her story about sexual harassment on the sets of ‘Bhabhiji Ghar Pe Hai?’. This year, the web and streaming industry is seeing allegations of sexual harassment. Arunabh Kumar, the founder of TVF, has had to step down following these allegations.
Now, Cine and Television Artists Association, has sent an SMS to all their members. The message is pretty self explanatory. It says:
“Dear friends, we are preparing a comprehensive report about our deplorable working conditions, to be submitted to I & B Ministry. We request you to send us audio/video/photographic/documentary proof of problems faced by you. From inhuman working conditions, unhygienic facilities, ill treatment, whatever you have personally faced. Rest assured your identity will not be disclosed to any producer or their employees. Please whatsapp us on [redacted] or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
A sincere appeal-Sushant Singh”
Now, there is no smoke without fire. The very idea that CINTAA has started a conversation about this is interesting. At best, it shows that some organisation is lending its ears to the problem that artists are facing. At worst, it shows that the malaise is so deep that the organisation has no other option but to crowd-source proof for it.
But the burning question is deeper. If CINTAA is now sending an e-mail to the I&B ministry, is there an organisation that will do the same for the web and streaming industry if such a situation arises? Currently, we have no governing body for the fast-growing streaming industry. Is that on the anvil now?