Trigger Warning: Distressing Content
Less than 2 years ago, a Twitter user accused comedian Kanan Gill of inappropriately touching her and two of her friends when they tried taking a picture with him. Kanan’s immediate reaction was to deny the allegations and intimidate the victim by tagging the Mumbai Police in his tweet. Soon after, more users flagged similar behaviour by Kanan at Youtube FanFest. A female comedian and a former Google employee accused Kanan of similar behaviour at a Google India event – tightly and inappropriately grabbing unsuspecting female fans, while clicking pictures. Following this, multiple women, who attended the same event, spoke up about their disturbing experience with Kanan. It is quite clear that under the disguise of funny, resides an alleged repeat offender.
Multiple lists exist online which enlist the names of men accused during #MeToo movement in India. Most of these lists carry Kanan’s name. It is, therefore, distressing to know that Netflix has partnered with an alleged repeat offender. Moreover, Netflix has a code of conduct for its employees which does not tolerate any form of inappropriate touching. However, it appears like the company is open to partner with men whose conduct with women has repeatedly been a failure.
Monika Shergill, VP Content, Netflix India, recently spoke at We The Women festival. When asked about making tradeoffs while selecting content, she mentioned that one really needs to stand up for what one believes in. She added that one must make progressive choices that will move the needle. It is difficult to understand how providing the Netflix platform to Kanan is a progressive choice and how exactly does it move the needle.
Such partnerships with perpetrators, prove to be damaging for survivors of abuse and possibly discourage them from speaking up in future. I urge Netflix India to revise its partnerships guidelines and stop providing its platform to artists who do not stand the test of Netflix’s internal Code of Conduct.