MoS for External Affairs MJ Akbar accused of sexual harassment by former colleagues when he worked as Editor-in-Chief

M.J Akbar

The Hush Post | 13:12 | 4-minute-read

In another MeToo disclosure, none other than the Minister of State for External Affairs, MJ Akbar has been accused of sexual harassment at work station. Priya Ramani, a journalist, identified Akbar as the unnamed editor whose inappropriate behaviour she had written about in an article in Vogue India in October 2017.

Ramani’s tweet came in the midst of a series of similar sexual harassment allegations pouring in on social media against men in journalism. In response to her tweet, at least three other women journalists made allegations of sexual harassment against Akbar.

Akbar has been the editor of prominent newspapers like The Telegraph, The Asian Age and The Sunday Guardian. He is also a member of the Rajya Sabha from the Bharatiya Janata Party.

In last year’s Vogue India article, Ramani described how MJ Akbar  called her for a job interview to his “plush south Mumbai hotel”. At that time, when she was 23 and he was 43. MJ Akbar refused to meet Ramani in the hotel lobby. He  insisted that she meet him in his room. There, he offered her a drink. Though she refused, he drank vodka himself. She alleges that he went on to sing old Hindi songs to her and at one point, asked her to sit close to him.

Soon after Ramani’s tweet, other journalists also accused Akbar of calling women to his hotel rooms for interviews, or making women feel uncomfortable by seeking to be alone with them. He also feigned drunk in various parties and on one such occasion in February 1999, tried to take advantage of the situation.

Just yesterday, apart from accusations against Akbar, Prashant Jha, a senior editorial person working with The Hindustan Times resigned after accusations of sexual harassment surfaced against him.

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