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#MeToo in India: Pablo Bartholomew says harassment allegation against him should be probed fairly

Editor's note: Following Rituparna Chatterjee's report — Is India’s #MeToo moment here? Women are angry and they are naming and shaming their abusersFirstpost will publish a series of articles collating personal accounts of those who have made allegations of harassment, along with responses from those who have been accused of such behaviour. This is an ongoing exercise and will be updated to reflect new developments. If you wish to draw our attention to instances of harassment you may have experienced or witnessed, tweet to us @firstpost with the hashtag #MeToo.

Also read — #MeToo in India: KR Sreenivas, Gautam Adhikari respond to sexual harassment allegations

Also read — #MeToo in India: Writer Kiran Nagarkar, photographer Pablo Bartholomew named in harassment accusations

Also read — #MeToo in India: Allegations surface against Meghnad Bose, Ishrath Nawaz, Rameez Shaikh, Manoj Ramachandran

Also read — #MeToo in India: The Wire's founder Sidharth Bhatia denies allegations of harassment

Also read — #MeToo in India: Singer-rapper Babu Haabi denies allegations of rape, says accusation is contradictory

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On 5 October, as a deluge of #MeToo accounts flooded Twitter timelines in India, among the allegations was one that accused photographer Pablo Bartholomew of harassment. An anonymous narrative claimed that Bartholomew had harassed a young writer who had interviewed him for an article some years ago; the accusation was shared by journalist Deepanjana Pal on her Twitter account.

 #MeToo in India: Pablo Bartholomew says harassment allegation against him should be probed fairly

Pablo Bartholomew. Facebook

In the account, the woman said the alleged harassment took place when she was starting off as a reporter, and Bartholomew began persistently calling her after she met him for an interview regarding his work.

"…He began calling on my cellphone to ask me to accompany him for a short trip outside the city. I politely declined, but he insisted, so I began ignoring his calls… (Later) I was told by my editor that (Bartholomew) had communicated his concern about my ability to write an article on his work,” the woman wrote, adding that he had allegedly used his power to discredit her in front of her employers, while pressurising her to go on the trip with him.

In a statement given to Firspost, however, Bartholomew said he was "at a loss to address or respond to the accusation". This is the full text of Bartholomew's response:

I am responding late to the post on Twitter by Deepanjana Pal of 05 October 2018 written anonymously by her friend alleging that I had harassed her over the phone after she interviewed me, and that I had subsequently spoken to her editor derisively about what she had written. I am not on Twitter and had no access to the post until it appeared in the media.

With no other context, timeline and explanation beyond the account of the anonymous person’s story, it makes it quite worrisome that anyone can name and be anonymous, with lack of answerability or fact. With no facts presented, I am at loss to address or respond to the stated accusation.

I hereby record that I am committed to Gender Equality. If I unintentionally and/or inadvertently have made the concerned individual feel uncomfortable, I would like to be offered the opportunity to explain myself instead of carrying forward this charade of naming and shaming.

My intentions have never been to offend or harass anyone. But if I have come across as such, then the matter should be probed fairly, and I will give it my full cooperation, or, this should be resolved through a comprehensive dialogue where I, too, am given the chance to put forth my version.

Read part one, two, three, four, five, six and seven of this series.

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Updated Date: Oct 08, 2018 21:26:42 IST