#MeToo accused MJ Akbar joins Zee Media’s WION; junior employees wary

When #MeToo allegations came up against Akbar in 2018, he resigned as the minister of state for external affairs.

New Delhi: Former union minister and journalist MJ Akbar, who was accused of sexual harassment by several women, has now joined WION, an English TV news channel run by Zee Media, Newslaundry reported.

Though his appointment has not been made official, Sudhir Chaudhary, the editor-in-chief of WION and Zee News, told the staff last week that MJ Akbar would be attending the morning editorial meetings.

“We were told that he would be joining as vice president. He’s attending the meetings online and isn’t coming to office,” a journalist from WION was anonymously quoted as saying by Newslaundry. They said that some people, especially the junior staff, were wary about Akbar joining the newsroom.

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Akbar refused a comment on his appointment to the website. Meanwhile, he had been a frequent writer at Open magazine.

MJ Akbar’s re-appearance in the newsroom is being called ‘disturbing’ and an “affront to female employees.”

#MeToo allegations and defamation case against Priya Ramani

When #MeToo allegations came up against Akbar in 2018 from various women who worked with him, along with journalist Priya Ramani, he resigned as the minister of state for external affairs. Ramani had accused Akbar of engaging in inappropriate behaviour around 20 years ago when he was a journalist. 

In an account titled To the Harvey Weinsteins of the world appeared in Vogue, she detailed her experience with a ‘Male Boss’ but did not name Akbar. It was only after a year, when the #MeToo movement was raging in India that she removed ‘the cloak of anonymity’ and revealed his name.

MJ Akbar then filed a case against Priya Ramani for defamation and lost it at the trial courts. Last week, the Delhi high court issued a notice to Ramani after Akbar challenged her acquittal in the criminal defamation case he had filed against her for accusing him of harassment.

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