Me Too-accused Suhel Seth in dock as author skips Bloomsbury event

The event was boycotted by one of the contributing authors of the book

NEW DELHI | Updated: 17 June, 2023 12:41 pm IST

NEW DELHI: A controversy has erupted over the presence of disgraced brand strategist Suhel Seth at a book launch event in New Delhi, with one of its contributing authors boycotting the event.

Tanushree Bhowmik, one of the contributors of The Bloomsbury Handbook Of Indian Cuisine published by Bloomsbury India, skipped its launch organized at the Taj Palace hotel to protest the presence of Seth, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

Explaining the rationale behind her decision, Bhowmik wrote in a Facebook post, “I find myself unable to attend an event that puts a man like him at the center stage. A man whom six women, including author Ira Trivedi, have accused of grave sexual misconduct. A man the Tata Group refused to work with and who has been removed from panels of literary festivals.”

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“To what end? To lie low and make a comeback as if nothing ever happened. For him to take center stage at Loya, a property owned by the Tata Group. While we give lip service to feminist causes and cheer Suhel Seth in public forums,” the author said.

She also mentioned that Seth holds no authority over matters of food and culinary and should not have been invited.

The author explained her decision to skip the book launch in a Facebook post

“One might argue, why didn’t the women file a formal complaint? Ask our Olympian wrestlers who did and see what they are going through. Ask yourself why the voices of six women don’t hold weight against a man,” Bhowmik concluded.

Apart from Seth, the book launch was also attended by senior journalist Sourish Bhattacharyya and Hoihnu Hauzel, another contributor from the North East.

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In 2018, Suhel Seth faced allegations of sexual harassment during the #MeToo campaign, which led to his termination as a consultant for the Tata Group. Among the accusations against Seth were accounts from filmmaker and entrepreneur Natashja Rathore, journalist Mandakini Gahlot, and writer Ishita Yadav, in addition to an anonymous narrative.

On social media, many women writers, journalists, and activists criticized the publisher for giving a platform to Seth. The Twitter account ‘MeToo Movement in India’ posted, “One of the contributing authors herself did not attend because of the presence of Suhel Seth, who multiple women accused of sexual harassment.”

“Slow clap for Bloomsbury India, who launched the book despite the author herself boycotting the event because of Suhel Seth’s presence. No shame left,” wrote a user.

Paromita Bardoloi, who describes herself as an author, said, “Shame on you, Bloomsbury India! The author herself refused to attend her book release because of the presence of Suhel Seth, a #MeToo accused whom six women accused of grave sexual misconduct, including author Ira Trivedi. And here he is talking in a manel. #Shame.”


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