- The AIB posted an apology on social media saying "we messed up"
- Utsav Chakraborty challenged his accusers today to prove their charges
- AIB said all videos featuring Utsav Chakraborty will be taken down
The AIB, comedy collective and former employer of stand-up comic Utsav Chakraborty, who is accused of sexual misconduct by several women, has conceded that the group continued to collaborate with him even after AIB co-founder Tanmay Bhat received "specific, detailed allegations" in a "personal conversation".
The AIB clarified that the private conversation happened after Chakraborty had stopped being their employee, but said they made a "big mistake" and should have cut all ties immediately.
Today, the AIB posted an apology on social media saying "we messed up". Titled "We're sorry", it explained how a confrontation between Tanmay and Utsav led to further harassment for the victim.
"By harassment, we meant that Utsav called up the person, cried, apologised, putting her in an uncomfortable position," it said.
However, since the person didn't wish to pursue legal action at that time, "out of respect for the person's privacy, nobody else at AIB was informed".
Chakraborty, who has featured in numerous videos of the AIB, has been accused of sexual harassment on social media by multiple women. The comedian allegedly sent unsolicited photographs of his genitals to women -- and girls. The allegations surfaced as part of a Twitter thread about the appalling behaviour of a large group of Indian men on a cruise in Australia last month.
While responding to allegations, Chakraborty said "this whole thing needs patience" and "incredible amount of context". He denied some of the allegations while admitting that "getting nudes from a person was an instant rush" for him.
Last evening, in a series of tweets Chakraborty wrote, "To be honest, from all accounts, I've been a piece of shit. And I will try to do everything I can work past that. There was no excuse. I know inconsiderate and entitled. Even in this narrative, when this whole thing started, I kept looking at myself as the victim."
But this morning, he was back to lashing out at his accusers, challenging them to prove their charges.
As the tweets circulated, the AIB said all videos featuring Chakraborty will be taken down.
"We are also aware that by extending safe working spaces and a collaborative environment to people like Utsav, we have contributed towards a toxic environment that can be scary and unsafe for women. And so we are sorry for any part we may have played in the tolerance or furthering of such behaviour," the AIB posted on Twitter.
The AIB's apology, without getting into the chronological details, added that "since then we have heard stray insinuations against Utsav, most of which were commentary on his unprofessional and confrontational behavior towards other comics... with no specific sexual details".
"And so we let our cognitive biases do the work our critical faculties should have."
The AIB said as senior members of the fraternity, they should have listened, investigated and taken necessary action.
The group wrapped the post with "we could have showed better stewardship of the culture, by listening, instead of normalising."