Pakistani singer-actor Meesha Shafi on Thursday accused Ali Zafar of sexually harassing her, saying the decision to share her #MeToo story was difficult but she felt it was important to break the culture of silence.
It sure did, as more women have come forward with similar allegations on Twitter. The accusers tweeted their support to Shafi saying she was not alone.
Zafar, a well-known face in Bollywood, has "categorically denied all claims of harassment" and said that he "intends to take this through the courts of law".
Subsequently, make-up artist Leena Ghani commended the Reluctant Fundamentalist actor on her bravery for speaking up and shared her #MeToo experience. She said, "In the many years I have known Ali, he has on several occasions crossed boundaries of what is appropriate behaviour between friends."
Thank you @itsmeeshashafi for your courage and your bravery. It's never easy. But that should never silence us. I am in total solidarity with you. You are not alone in this because #Metoo #TimesUp #WeBelieveYou pic.twitter.com/hkQ61bqnFH
" Leena (@Leena_Ghani) April 19, 2018
Journalist Maham Javaid then joined in recounting her cousin's experience with Ali, when he tried to kiss her and then pull her into a restroom with him.
So @itsmeeshashafi's brave sharing of her experience reminded me of a story about @AliZafarsays from many many years ago, when Ali Zafar tried to kiss my cousin and pull my cousin into a restroom with him. Luckily my cousin's friends were there to push Ali Zafar off https://t.co/kBQbBiwyFP " Maham Javaid (@JMaham) April 19, 2018
We didn't even think of telling anyone, apart from friends, or reporting him because "he's a celebrity, no one would possibly care or listen". And tbh over the years we forgot the story ourselves, until today. Thanks @itsmeeshashafi for reminding us that our stories matters
" Maham Javaid (@JMaham) April 19, 2018
Blogger Humna Raza described an encounter when Ali made an inappropriate contact at a public event.
Shafi, who belongs to a family of actors, dropped the bombshell on Twitter where she posted a lengthy statement. She said she had been subjected to sexual harassment "of a physical nature at the hands of a colleague" on more than one occasion.
Meanwhile, Zafar took to Twitter to deny the allegations and said: "I intend to take this through the courts of law and to address this professionally and seriously rather than to lodge any allegations here, contesting personal vendettas on social media and in turn disrespecting the movement, my family, the industry and my fans".