Preity Zinta recently resurfaced in India to give some pretty disturbing remarks about the #MeToo movement in India.
The actor's latest interview with Bollywood Hungama is a difficult and painful watch. Preity was asked about the MeToo wave in India's entertainment industry and her responses were tone-deaf, insensitive and just plain wrong.
Here are five of her highly problematic statements. Preity, take note.
1) "It's important that women use MeToo for the right reasons. I do feel bad when women use it when it's not that serious or for personal vendetta or for publicity"
No, Preity. We hope you realise that the women who have come forward with their stories have hardly been women in power. In fact, they bravely choose to look past their power imbalance with their abusers in order to expose them — all for the hope that the offender will be held accountable for their crimes and prevented from hurting anyone else. And that the survivors themselves might get some closure.
Also, a MeToo story is not meant to be measured against a scale of "serious enough". Yes, some accounts are more harrowing than others but that does not mean that those other cases should be treated with any less importance.
All harassment and assault cases should be taken seriously because a) an individual felt threatened or was caused harm and b) reporting could put the offender behind bars/ in check.
Usually women who come forward with their MeToo stories are accused for looking for revenge or publicity, but time and again it has been proven that these women are the ones who suffer the most. They seek refuge in slow judicial processes and have to deal with harassment and threats.
2) "[Laugh] I wish I had dealt with #MeToo"
No, Preity. We're sure you wouldn't, and we're glad you never did.
3) "People treat you how you want to be treated"
No, Preity. You couldn't be too far off from the truth. That's like saying, 'She was asking for it'. Nobody ever asks to be harassed or assaulted. Honestly, it's surprising and upsetting coming from Preity considering she herself was in an abusive relationship with Ness Wadia for four years.
We're pretty sure she did not want to treated the way she was in her past relationship but it happened due to a power imbalance. We wish she used her voice to call out these inequities instead.
4) "There is nothing you can do to change the world, the only thing you can change is yourself"
No, Preity. We're guessing the actor hasn't been reading the news of late, we're changing the world alright, one MeToo story at a time and every individual is doing it by coming forward. From our very own Meesha Shafi, who encouraged other Pakistani actresses like Ayesha Omar to share her story, to Indian actor Tanushree Dutta and Vinta Nanda who are challenging men in power in Bollywood.
TimesUp and we hope you're catching on Preity.
5) "Jokes: Aaj ki Sweeto, kal ki MeToo ho sakti hai... so don't hang out with any sweeto"
No, Preity. This is absolutely appalling. There's no room for jokes on MeToo and its victims. This is sexist, insensitive and undermines victims of the movement. Shame.
Do your homework and read up on sexual harassment and assault before giving your two cents on the matter.