I Am Ready To Fight Legal Battle: Ira Trivedi On Her Defamation Case
One of the lead campaigners of the #MeToo movement who exposed author Chetan Bhagat and brand consultant Suhel Seth for sexual misconduct, author Ira Trivedi also recently filed a defamation case against Bhagat. In this conversation with SheThePeople.TV, The 10-minute Yoga Solution author spoke about dealing with trolls, her mental strength to deal with consequences of speaking out and what compelled her to speak up.
Trivedi, who alleged that in her decade-long association with Bhagat wherein he exposed her to his inappropriate behaviour, participated in various TV debates supporting the campaign before she actually wrote about her own experiences on 13 October in an article in The Outlook. After the story came out, she received a lot of support from women and trolling from men, she said. “That’s what’s been happening. A women come out about this ridiculous behaviour, a lot of misogynist men try to pull us down,” she told SheThePeople.TV.
About the kind of trolling she received, she said that people called her out, saying she was doing it for publicity and “derailing the movement”. She responds to such trolling by saying, “No one wants this kind of publicity. No woman wants this sort of energy coming her way.”
In the case of Bhagat, he posted a screenshot of an email where Trivedi had written “miss u kiss u”. Then she revealed the whole email trail in an article for The Quint where she pointed out how she had written it hurriedly and even after his pursuance to initiate a conversation around the “kiss”, she dodged the questions because she realized the repercussions of it. After the story came out, she also filed a defamation case against him for misrepresenting and defaming her in front of a large audience of eight million people on his Twitter account. She said, “After the legal notice, I think he got scared and because my case is very strong when it comes to maligning a woman’s reputation, he has gone quiet. He also sent blanket threats from someone I knew just saying that he is going to release more emails.”
Trivedi also said that there are other women who have spoken to her about similar experiences with Bhagat, including her own friend. She said, “It is the male gaze which oozes of entitled behaviour but by silencing me over the years, he effectively silenced them as well.”
On the times she faced sexual misbehaviour and how it becomes so normal to ignore it and go on with our lives, Trivedi noted how when something of this sort happens, women don’t know any better. “We don’t really think that anything wrong has happened till we hear other similar incidents and we realize the incorrect behaviour. Then it bombs on you. We realize how it is not the way these men should behave. In the beginning, we try to ignore it and avoid it but the reality is that they do this on a daily basis, it’s just that it happens to us once a year. That’s when I realized that there is no normal and if I don’t speak up now, then they may continue with this disgusting behaviour,” said Trivedi.
“After the legal notice, I think he got scared and because my case is very strong when it comes to maligning a woman’s reputation. He has gone quiet. He also sent blanket threats from someone I knew, just saying that he is going to release more emails”
While Bhagat has spoken up on the incident, brand consultant Suhel Seth remains uncomfortably silent on the accusations against him. About Seth’s silence, Trivedi said, “Suhel may have gone the smarter way just by not drawing any attention at all. I am sure he has been advised to stay silent. He has even taken down his website.”
Like Coca Cola and Tata Sons terminated their contract with Seth, Trivedi feels that the same should happen to other sexual predators as well.
As litigation ends up taking years’ worth of patience and unshaking attitude, Trivedi is all ready to take on the big battle. She has support from pro-bono lawyers and people to guide her on her journey. And it is about time that we bring the men who have wronged women to courts and prove them guilty.