Bollywood actress Preity Zinta apologises for #MeToo comments

Actress Preity Zinta was accused of belittling victims after saying she wished she had faced sexual harassment on social media. PHOTO: TWITTER/PREITY G ZINTA

MUMBAI (AFP) - Bollywood actress Preity Zinta apologised on Tuesday (Nov 20) over comments she made about India's #MeToo movement that sparked a furore on social media.

Zinta was accused of belittling victims after saying she wished she had faced sexual harassment.

"My reason for saying 'I wish something like this would have happened to me' in the film industry with a smile was because I would have reacted and slapped the person," she said.

Zinta said she was a "huge supporter of the movement" and claimed that her comments, given in an interview with entertainment site Bollywood Hungama, were taken out of context.

The 43-year-old star of the 2003 hit Koi Mil Gaya (Found Someone) added that she herself had been the victim of abuse.

"To all the women out there. I'm sorry if I have unintentionally hurt your sentiments on the #MeToo movement," she said.

India's belated #MeToo movement has seen women share accounts of alleged harassment by several powerful men in the worlds of Bollywood, business, journalism, politics, comedy and even cricket since gaining traction in late September.

The trigger appears to have been actress Tanushree Dutta, who accused well-known Bollywood actor Nana Patekar of inappropriate behaviour on a film set 10 years ago.

Since then, a slew of popular Bollywood figures have been accused of sexual misconduct, including Vikas Bahl, Sajid Khan and Alok Nath. All have denied the claims.

Last month, M.J. Akbar resigned as India's junior foreign minister after at least 20 women accused him of sexual harassment during his time as a newspaper editor.

Akbar - who denies the allegations - is suing one of the complainants, Priya Ramani, for defamation.

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