After Anirban Blah was accused of sexual harassment, another head of a talent management company stands accused of sexual abuse by two women. A report in Mid-day suggests that Afsar Zaidi, the co-founder of Exceed Entertainment, sexually harassed a couple of women, who have come out in the open about it.
The first survivor narrated her incident from 2014 to the paper, as she said, “He would make me stand in the middle of the office and ask everyone to dress like me. Initially, it was flattering, but after a point, it was systematic. On certain days, he would make comments like, ‘Are we showing too much back today?’ He would look me up and down.” She received a huge blow during her first international trip, as she recalled of an incident. “During a chat with other colleagues, my boss took me aside and told me that Ajit Thakur wanted me to help him get women. I thought he was joking at first. When I timidly expressed that I wasn’t comfortable doing it, I was told, ‘Yeh sab karna padta hai’. I discreetly told the girls that they should go someplace else before the men approached them. Ajit continued the ‘after party’ in my CEO’s room where he repeatedly came onto me,” said the woman.
However, the biggest shock occurred to her during a Diwali party, “Afsar has a terrace next to his cabin where he was hosting the party. I was told that Hrithik Roshan, Bipasha Basu, and Shilpa Shetty were to eventually make an appearance with their respective managers. Afsar was physically grabbing people and pouring drinks down their throats. While I kept dodging him, at one point, he grabbed me from behind, put his hands on my breast and forced me to down a drink. He did this a few more times in the course of the evening. He was drunk by midnight. It was then that he came to me again and started rubbing his penis up against my back.”
She continued, “There were 30 people around, yet they chose to turn a blind eye to what was happening in front of them. I froze and didn’t know how to respond. I remember him saying, ‘If you like it, push back harder.’ That’s when I pushed him with my elbow and angrily said, ‘Is it hard enough for you?’ He was so drunk that he didn’t register my rage. Instead, he got turned on and invited me to his room for sex. I ran to a colleague for help, but he kept following me. I tried mustering the courage to talk to the HR person when a few minutes later, another woman came screaming out of Afsar’s cabin. She was hysterical and it turns out, she became his prey that night when I said no.”
The second survivor also corroborated of the party incident calling the incident as “near rape.”
Speaking of Exceed Entertainment, it handles various celebrities like Priyanka Chopra, Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Sonakshi Sinha and so on.