Comedy collective All India Bakchod (AIB) on Wednesday, 22 May, shared a post on their social media handles, stating that “AIB YouTube channel is for all intents and purposes, dead for the foreseeable future.” The statement issued by Vidhi Jotwani, Head of Human Resources, also said that the group’s co-founder Tanmay Bhat, will “step down from the position of CEO” and Gursimran Khamba, a core member of the collective, will “no longer be involved in operations at AIB”.
#MeToo Hits AIB
AIB was caught in the #MeToo storm back in October last year, when allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against comedian Utsav Chakraborty. Tanmay, then CEO, was called out after the fact that he continued to work with Chakraborty despite being aware of the accusations against him came to light. Gursimran Khamba faced separate allegations after an anonymous person accused him of harassing her emotionally and pursuing her against her wishes.
Tanmay was subsequently asked to step down in October 2018. AIB had issued a statement back then saying that he will be “stepping away” and won’t be associated with the group in any way, and Gursimran Khamba had been placed on “temporary leave”.
Come to Terms With My Own Failings as a Leader: Tanmay
In a note posted alongside the group’s statement on his personal Instagram account, Tanmay Bhat has attempted to own up to his actions and their consequences writing,
“The hardest part about everything that has happened in the last 8 months is to come to terms with my own failings as a leader and as an individual. But I know that owning up, being vulnerable, and taking responsibility are the only ways to move forward. I am deeply sorry for the distress I’ve caused to my friends, and anyone affected by my actions. I am deeply sorry to my colleagues who’ve had to go through immense stress that I feel responsible for. I realise that in the past, I’ve failed to live up to ideals that I’ve propagated myself, and my resolve is to ensure that this never happens again.”
He added that he would “strive to build spaces in which women feel welcomed, valued, safe, heard and nurtured,” and is “committing to a daily process of unlearning, rewiring, and learning.”
Khamba Addresses #MeToo Allegations and the Road Ahead
Gursimran Khamba also took to Instagram to offer his statement, calling the past seven months “extremely challenging but eye-opening for both me and my family.”
He explained that while he participated in the investigation conducted by an informal committee that was set up to look into the allegations of harassment levelled against him, the “process which lasted four months was replete with procedural lapses and did not follow principles of natural justice.”
He claimed that despite requests to follow due process, these lapses continued. “At this stage, I requested the committee to recuse itself and a fresh committee to be constituted. My request was denied and hence I was left with no choice but to withdraw from the inquiry,” he wrote.
Explaining the reason for shutting down operations as of now, AIB’s most recent statement said, “After the events of early October, things moved fast. Almost all of our partners hit freeze on future associations, while others pulled out of active projects effective immediately. All of this hit revenue hard.”
The company had to let go of the office space and the entire team overnight.
“One small point of pride in all this for us is that with the work they’d done at AIB, not one of them struggled to find another job. However, to that end, the AIB YouTube channel is for all intents and purposes, dead for the foreseeable future - there will be no new sketches any time soon,” it added. the statement also noted that the remaining members of AIB, Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya, will continue to manage the remaining affairs of the group but will also be pursuing solo interests in the coming future.
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