#MeToo movement: Open letter by women leaders in ad industry

NEW DELHI: In the wake of the #MeToo movement in India, many top women leaders from advertising, design and media fields have come together to write an open letter to address workplace sexual harassment across the industry.

These women, who hold high positions in various companies, have released a circular, undersigned as “The Collective”, to create an “easily accessible” platform backed by “women leaders” to focus on addressing harassment across Indian advertising, design and media industry.

The circular says that the various women leaders in the industry have been reading the horrifying accounts of harassment which made them feel “sad, angry and violated at the same time.”

“Any harassment is not okay. Period. Nobody should be able to use their power of authority or gender to discriminate, abuse or harass anyone. As an industry we cannot move forward till the time we make it a safe place for everybody,” said the collective in the circular.

Women

The letter comes in the backdrop of several high-profile names, including that of consultant Suhel Seth, being accused of sexual harassment.

Seth has been

accused by at least four women
+
of sexual harassment.

Seth, a popular celebrity consultant, has been accused by filmmaker Natashja Rathore, 27, who posted a number of screenshots of a WhatsApp message that she sent him recently recapping an alleged incident that had taken place last year at Seth’s condo in Gurgaon.

The second woman to have accused Seth is 33-year-old journalist Mandakini Gahlot, who narrated an incident that involved Seth at a policymakers’ retreat that was held in Goa in July 2011.

Two other women, who chose to remain anonymous, have also accused Seth of sexual harassment.

Suhel Seth is yet to publicly respond to these sexual harassment accusations.