Celebrities accused of sexual harassment world over
LAHORE: During the last one decade or so, innumerable business tycoons enjoying global fame, renowned international television anchors, programme producers, celebrities, actors, politicians, judges and cricketers etc have been accused all over the planet of making unwelcome sexual advances towards women, sexual intimidation, coercion and exploitation of the fair sex.
Quite recently, Pakistani actor and singer, Ali Zafar, found himself in the middle of a raging, yet embarrassing, controversy where he was accused by a fellow musician Meesha Shafi of inappropriate behaviour. Ali Zafar has denied all the allegations and has sent a legal notice to his accuser.
The Pakistani entertainment industry, however, stands divided on Meesha Shafi’s allegations of sexual harassment against Ali Zafar. In January 2018, following the brutal rape and murder of the seven-year old Zainab in Kasur, floodgates had finally opened for abusive and villainous Pakistani men as innumerable actresses, media personalities, choreographers, publicists and dress designers like Nadia Jamil, Frieha Altaf and Maheen Khan etc had opted to come forth to share their darkest childhood experiences through heart-touching and quite eloquently phrased messages on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook etc.
Scandals featuring sexual abuse are nothing new in the world around us. Here follow a few of these headline-flashing scams from Pakistan, United States, United Kingdom, Israel, Malaysia, India and Australia etc:
In August 2017, a female PTI legislator, Ayesha Gulalai, had come out to talk about the harassment she faced by her party leader, Imran Khan. She accused Imran of for sending her lewd texts in October 2013. Gulalai resigned from the party while retaining her National Assembly seat over the conduct of the leading face of one of Pakistan’s biggest and most influential political parties.
In 2013, according to BBC News, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was investigating allegations of sexual harassment levelled by women members of a regional cricket club. The June 11, 2013 report of the “BBC News” had stated: “The Multan Cricket Club officials deny the charge, accusing the women of “questionable behaviour” and breach of discipline. Officials say a three-member PCB team is holding a hearing in Multan city and will submit its findings. It is not clear if PCB will make the findings public right away. Rights activists say sexual harassment of women in sports is rampant but rarely reported.
In October 2013, the Pakistani Cricket authorities had banned five women cricketers for falsely accusing their male officials of sexual harassment after an investigation ruled they lied about the allegations.
In July 2013, Pakistan cricket team masseur, Malang Ali, was sent back from the ICC Champions Trophy after being accused of sexually harassing a female worker at the London hotel, where the players stayed during the event.
In August 2003, the London-based Mirror newspaper had reported that a 38-year-old mother-of-two in Melbourne had claimed that world class Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne had bombarded her with raunchy text messages after they met at a nightclub
The allegations were made in an Australian television interview. Gallagher was reported to have taken a lie detector test, the results of which her agent described as “amazing.”
Famous Cricket website “ESPN Cricinfo” had stated: “Gallagher said that she met Warne in May 2003 at a Melbourne lap-dancing venue called The Men’s Club where she worked as a stripper, and that she gave him her mobile number after they chatted. “Ten minutes later, I got my first text message from him,” she explained. “They were extremely full-on sexual messages. He told me he had an open marriage. I asked him about his wife and he led me to believe they weren’t together.”
Shane Warne later told reporters: “Any issues or allegations concerning my private life are exactly that – private, and will remain so.” Simone, his long-suffering wife, came out in support of Warne saying that she stood by him. “I always have and will continue to.”
Shane Warne was also the target of accusations from Alon, a 45-year-old South African, who maintained that she had been pestered with text messages after the two had met a club. Before that he was stripped of the Australian vice-captaincy following allegations that he had pestered a nurse with calls while he was in England playing for Hampshire.
The “India Today” had maintained: “Interestingly, some five years back when the ICC Youth World Cup was held in Malaysia the same masseur had been accused of stealing cash and valuables from a players room.”
In June 2010, an Indian court had granted bail to former Indian cricket team manager V. Chamundeshwarinath, who was accused of sexually harassing four women cricketers from Andhra Pradesh.
Four women cricketers had lodged a case in 2009 against him alleging that he ill-treated and sexually harassed them.
(Source: The Hindustan Times)
Moreover, various Indian film actors like late Rajesh Khanna, Jeetendra, Irfan Khan, Aditya Pancholi, and another late actor Om Puri were accused of making unwelcome sexual advances.
In March 2015, for the first time in Indian legal history, the parliament had initiated proceedings to attempt to impeach a judge over allegations of sexual harassment.
Justice S. K. Gangele had found himself in the dock after a female additional district judge had accused him of sexual harassment alleging that she was forced to resign from the judicial service due to his “advances and malicious aspirations.”
Earlier, in December 2014, an Indian Supreme Court bench had quashed that inquiry saying that the state chief justice had not constituted the two-judge panel correctly and the panel’s role should have been to only determine whether a deeper probe was necessary.
Justice Gangele was then stripped of administrative and supervisory roles.
In March 2015, as many as 58 Rajya Sabha (Senate) members had submitted a petition to the Rajya Sabha Chairperson, Hamid Ansari, to initiate a motion of impeachment under Article 124 of the Indian Constitution against the accused arbiter.
(Reference: The Indian Express)
In February 2018, sitting American President Donald Trump was seen getting engaged in a Twitter fight with a woman who has accused him of forcibly kissing her when she worked at Trump Tower in 2006.
The “Guardian” had held: “Rachel Crooks’ allegations against Donald Trump have been reported before, but it was her appearance on the front page of the Washington Post in an article headlined “Is anyone listening?” This Trump accuser keeps asking herself that. But she plans to keep talking about that day in 2006″ – that offended the President. Responding to the article, Trump used Twitter to dismiss Crooks as “a woman I don’t know and, to the best of my knowledge, never met.”He went on to describe the report as “fake news” and claim that the kiss “never happened!’
The British newspaper had asserted: “The 35-year-old university administrator launched her campaign in early February as a first-time candidate and a Democrat, after initially coming forward during the presidential election campaign. “I think my voice should have been heard then, and I’ll still fight for it to be heard now,” she said at the time. Crooks is one of more than a dozen women who have accused the president of inappropriate behaviour in the past – allegations Trump has denied.”
The “ABC News” had maintained: “At least 16 women have accused Donald Trump of varying inappropriate behavior, including allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault, all coming forward with their accusations before or during his bid for the White House.”
Former President George H.W. Bush was accused of patting seven women below the waist while posing for photos with them in recent years, well after he left office. The 93-year-old Republican had issued repeated apologies through a spokesman, who said that since the former president uses a wheelchair; his arm sinks below people’s waists when they take photos with him.
On December 8, 2017, the prestigious “Time” magazine had reported: “Eight women have come forward alleging that the 41st President, George W. Bush senior, groped them at various events dating back to the 1992 presidential campaign. The first accusations came from two actresses, Heather Lind and Jordana Grolnick, who alleged that Bush had grabbed their behinds when posing for a photograph with them. Bush’s spokesman, Jim McGrath, did not deny the allegations, and explained in a statement that Bush did not mean to offend anyone and was trying to put the women at ease, because he was in a wheelchair and can only reach so high when posing for pictures.”
Allegations of sexual misconduct have swirled around former President Bill Clinton, and have been discussed and narrated several times.
Former US Vice President Al Gore was accused by a US media outlet “The National Enquirer” on its website that he had ‘unwanted’ sexual contact with a massage technician in October 2006. Though Gore’s attorneys had denied the allegations, police detectives did sniff around a lot for evidence after the massage practitioner’s lawyer had reported to Portland police that the former US Vice President had sexually assaulted her in his hotel room.
In October 2017, In October 2017, the “New York Times” and the “New Yorker” had reported that dozens of women accused Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse over a period of at least 30 years. More than 80 women in the American film industry had subsequently accused Weinstein of such acts. Weinstein denied “any non-consensual sex.”
Shortly after these reports, Weinstein was dismissed by The Weinstein Company, expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and other professional associations, and has since disappeared from public view.
The scandal had triggered many similar allegations against powerful men around the world, and led to the ousting of many of them from their positions. It also led a great number of women to share their own experiences of sexual assault, harassment, or rape on social media under the hash tag #MeToo.
Archioves of US media houses reveal that an eminent Hollywood actor Dustin Hoffman was accused by woman of sexual harassing when she was 17. He later apologized for his behavior. Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor-turned-Governor of California, also faced allegations of having sex with a woman at a gymnasium. A 2001 article in “Premiere” magazine described many instances in which Schwarzenegger had fondled a female interviewer
Pixar and Disney Animation chief John Lasseter was accused by several women of unwanted touching and has announced he is taking a six-month leave of absence. He had acknowledged some “missteps” with employees and apologized for any behavior that made workers uncomfortable.
Actor Steven Seagal was accused by two women of rape. He denied the allegations. Billboard magazine executive Stephen Blackwell: Accused of sexual harassment by one woman. He has resigned from the magazine.
Penguin Random House art director Giuseppe Castellano was accused by one woman of sexual harassment. Penguin Random House started an investigation. Castellano had not commented.
Journalist Mark Halperin was accused of harassing about 12 women while at ABC News. His book contract was terminated and he was fired from job at NBC News. He had denied some of the allegations.
The American National Public Radio (NPR) news chief Michael Oreskes was accused of inappropriate behavior or sexual harassment by at least four women while at The New York Times, NPR and The Associated Press. He was later ousted from NPR.
Famous American television anchorperson, Charlie Rose, was accused by several women of unwanted sexual advances, groping and grabbing women, walking naked in front of them or making lewd phone calls. He apologized for his behavior, but had questioned the accuracy of some of the accounts.
The New York Times White House reporter Glenn Thrush was accused of making drunken, unwanted advances on women. He disputed some of the accusations but said he had had a drinking problem and apologized for any situation where he behaved inappropriately.
In American politics, Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel was accused of sexually inappropriate comments and behavior toward a number of women, Bittel resigned. Meanwhile, Democratic state Senator Jeff Clemens resigned after a report that he had an extramarital affair with a lobbyist, and Republican state Senator Jack Latvala was investigated by the Senate over allegations of harassment and groping. Latvala had denied the allegations.
British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon was accused in November 2017 of inappropriate advances on two women. He had to resign.
Stephen Crabb, the former British Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, was reported by the “Daily Telegraph” in October 2017 to have sent sexually suggestive text messages to a young woman he had interviewed for a position in his parliamentary office which he said “basically amount to unfaithfulness.”
Damien Green, the first British Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office, was accused of sexually harassing behaviour by an activist, Kate Maltby, and was also separately alleged to have viewed pornography on his work computer. Following an inquiry into these allegations, he resigned from the Cabinet in December 2017.
British Labour Party legislator Carl Sargeant was believed to have taken his own life after harassment allegations cost him his post as the Welsh government’s Cabinet secretary for communities and children.
Another Labour Party member Ivan Lewis was suspended over an allegation of sexual misconduct; Lewis disputed the account but apologized if his behavior had been unwelcome.
In November 2017, British billionaire and owner of Virgin Air, Richard Branson, was accused of sexually harassing a singer at his private island called Necker.
A former British judge David Selwood, who had admitted a string of child abuse images offences, was given a 12 month rehabilitation order. He was charged after police had found 75 images of naked and semi-naked boys aged between eight and 14 on his laptop computer.
Research shows that although the phenomenon of sexual harassment may well be as old as the planet Earth itself, the first-ever sexual harassment case (Barnes vs Train) was perhaps filed in America in 1974, where a female employee had brought the case against her boss. She had lost her job after refusing the advances of a male supervisor.
(References: The Fox News and the 1989 Boston College Law Review)
On March 22, 2011 an Israeli court had awarded a seven-year sentence to the country’s former President, Moshe Katsav, on rape charges. According to Al-Jazeera TV, the judges had also handed the former Israeli leader a two-year suspended sentence and ordered him to pay a fine.
President Katsav was convicted in December 2010 of rape, sexual harassment, indecent acts and obstruction of justice, following a four-year scandal that had rattled Israel.
Anwar Ibrahim, the former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, was sentenced to nine years for sodomy in 2000. In 2004, the Federal Court reversed his conviction and he was released due to contradictions in the prosecution’s case. In July 2008, he was again alleged of sodomizing one of his male aides.
The Wiki leaks founder, Julian Assange, was under probe by the Swedish police since August 2010 for his alleged involvement in two sexual encounters. Assange had appealed the February 2011 decision by English courts to extradite him to Sweden for questioning in relation to a sexual assault investigation.