Actor and director Farhan Akhtar says he feels a sense of guilt for not being aware of the indecent behaviour of his cousin Sajid Khan, who has been accused of sexual harassment by several women, Mid-day reported. Sajid was accused of sexual harassment by two women – actor Saloni Chopra and a journalist, following which he stepped down as the director of Housefull 4.
When the allegations had surfaced, Farhan, who has been a vocal supporter of #MeToo movement, was one of the first celebrities to react and had termed them as “shocking.”
“Everytime something like this has happened in the public domain, I’ve been very vocal with my opinion. When it came to someone within my family, I felt silence on that front would be very, very hypocritical,” Farhan said while speaking at a recent event.
He continued, “It was important for me to speak out. Sajid, being my brother, I need to now work with him, try to figure out how he can see this thing through and how it is that he can make the women who have been affected by his actions, somehow feel better.”
Farhan added that whether this matter needs to go to the court is up to the parties involved and asserted that Sajid has to address the matter.
Farhan said when he first heard about the accusations against his cousin, he had conflicted emotions.
“It was surprise, disappointment and strangely, because when it’s a member of your family, you also feel a certain level of guilt. It’s happened to all of us in the past when we hear something like this and say ‘but how come someone so close to him didn’t know.’ The truth is I didn’t. If I did know I would’ve spoken about it way before the story broke. There was this certain guilt about that, how could this be going on and I had no idea. So there were conflicted emotions,” he said.
Farhan also remarked that “it is ultimately a woman’s decision when she wants to come out and tell her story and she should be given that environment and space.”
“If someone has behaved badly with a woman and she hasn’t spoken about it for ten, 20 or 30 years, it’s her prerogative when she wants to speak. Even if someone tells me privately, I cannot take their names. Can I go to the public with that? I can’t because she will be answerable then for the rest of her life and may be she doesn’t want to be. It’s a woman’s agency,” he concluded.