Hotstar cancels ‘On Air with AIB’ S3 as allegations of sexual misconduct emerge

MUMBAI: Star India’s video streaming service Hotstar has cancelled the production of ‘On Air with AIB’ season 3 with immediate effect due to allegations of sexual misconduct against one of the members of the stand-up comedy group. Till now, Hotstar has released seven episodes of the third season of the show.

In a parallel development, AIB has also issued a statement saying that its founding members Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba are stepping away from the organisation until further notice. Bhat, who is also the CEO of the organisation, will not be involved in day-to-day operations of AIB.

The development has taken place in the light of allegations of sexual misconduct against Khamba. While Bhat has been criticised for his inaction against writer-comedian Utsav Chakraborty who has been accused of sexually harassing women and young girls.

Earlier, AIB had distanced itself from Chakraborty stating that he had quit the organisation in 2016.

“In light of recent events involving AIB, we are cancelling the production of On Air with AIB Season 3, with immediate effect. We are deeply concerned by these developments, which run contrary to our values as a responsible platform, and will not stand by anything that compromises the respect or safety of women,” Hotstar said in a statement.

“We have been closely monitoring the sequence of events on social media around the allegations against AIB and also against our Co-founder and CEO, Tanmay Bhat. We cannot overlook Tanmay’s role and in light of this, he will be stepping away from his association with AIB until further notice. This implies that Tanmay will not be involved with the day to day functioning of AIB or in any other manner,” AIB Head – Human Resources Vidhi Jotwani.

“We have also just been apprised of the allegations against Gursimran Khamba on social media. At this point in time, these allegations pertain to a private matter, and he has released a statement of his own about the same. However, as an organisation, we believe that it would be prudent to place Gursimran Khamba on a temporary leave of absence until we have more clarity on the matter.

“We understand that disconcert of any kind adversely affects the work culture and creates an unsafe space for our employees. Nobody should have to work in an environment such as that, and we hope to enable measures to establish our commitment to creating a gender-sensitive workspace. We are in the process of consulting various experts to ensure that our work culture incorporates sensitivity, inclusivity, respect and fairness.

“As mentioned, at this time, both of our senior partners are immediately stepping away from all business at AIB. Truthfully, we do not know what this means for the future of AIB or whether there is one. In the interim, Ashish Shakya, Rohan Joshi and other senior team members will work towards being able to answer that question over the next several months.”

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