#MeToo: Multiple Women Accuse Suhel Seth of Sexual Harassment
With the #MeToo campaign gaining momentum in India, film director Natashja Rathore has now accused well-known author and socialite Suhel Seth of sexual assault.
Here’s an excerpt from Rathore’s account:
"... I came up to your place not because I wanted to – but because in that moment I really didn't know what to do – making a scene and walking out on my own in the middle of the night in an unknown place in Gurgaon was at that point probably more dangerous than being alone in your den with you... You offered me another drink – I said "No" – you insisted, so I agreed. You then threw yourself at me although I was clearly uncomfortable. You shoved your tongue down my throat even when I resisted – I whacked your head and said "behave yourself". You put your hand into my kurta... and grabbed my breast and I remember whacking your hand too and pulling it off."
When The Quint reached out to Seth for a response to this alleged incident, he said he would put out a statement soon.
This copy will be updated when the response is put out.
‘I Was 26 When He Publicly Harassed and Humiliated Me’
On Wednesday, 10 October, 33-year-old journalist Mandakini Gahlot on Twitter described an alleged incident involving Seth. She said the incident took place at the 12th Regulators’ and Policymakers’ Retreat held at the Taj-Fort Aguada Beach Resort and the Taj Holiday Village in Goa from July 13-17, 2011.
She wrote, “It was July 2011, and I had just quit my job at the
@IndianExpress. I had taken on a freelance assignment to transcribe speeches at a conference, just to pay the bills until I started at a new job a few months later. The conference was at the Taj Aguada hotel in Goa. One evening after the conference, about a 100 odd people were having cocktails in the hotel. I don't remember how, but I got talking to Suhel about the conference. There was a small group of people who were part of the conversation, his friends or sycophants, I don't know. Suhel kept describing the "cottage suite" he was in, and telling me to come check it out after dinner. I distinctly remember he said something about a jacuzzi. Anyway, I was well aware of Suhel's reputation, so I was on the alert, and I declined his sleazy invitation. I finished my drink and was saying bye to the people in that group, when Suhel reached out - I figured for a quick hug - and planted a big sloppy kiss on my mouth, I felt his tongue inside my mouth. I was so stunned and I said something like Suhel, you can't do that. “
She also noted why she did not file a complaint back then against Seth. She wrote, “In the end, I did not file a complaint - for so many reasons. I was too young, trying desperately to rise in my career and Suhel was just too powerful to take on. Like a lot of other women, I also brushed off the incident, and often said, it doesn't bother me in any way.”
‘He’s a Creep’: Anonymous Account
Earlier on Wednesday, 10 October, another person had anonymously accused Seth of being a "creep", recounting an alleged incident from August 2010.
The anonymous person had shared the story on WhatsApp with Anisha Sharma, who then posted screenshots of her conversation with the former on Twitter.
The anonymous person wrote:
“... I was all of 17 and used to follow him [Suhel Seth] on Twitter and catch his interviews on tv. At that time I remember being a fan of his because of how eloquent he was etc. I had seen him at the coffee shop of Taj Land End on that day as I was walking out. Later, I tweeted him to saying that I saw him and was a big fan but was too shy to say Hi. He then sent me a DM and said that I should have come and said hi. Later at night as I was at dinner with my parents, he sent me another DM and asked me to join him in his room for drinks as he had seen someone wish me on Twitter. I was shocked and immediately showed the message to my mum who was furious as well but didn’t know what to do. I didn’t respond to his message and he kept messaging me to join. And wrote ‘big wild kiss’ at the end of the last message after which I blocked him. All this to a 17-year-old girl. [sic].”
The person further said she had deleted the DMs (direct messages) and had even disabled her account for a while. "I wish I had those DMs today so that I could share a screenshot."
When asked about the allegations, Seth told The Quint that he "wasn't in Mumbai, but abroad" at the time when the alleged incident is said to have taken place.