Indian actress Sri Reddy stages revealing #MeToo protest

Indian film actress Sri Reddy took off her top during a protest against sexual harassment in the Indian film industry.
Indian film actress Sri Reddy took off her top during a protest against sexual harassment in the Indian film industry.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ SRI REDDY

NEW DELHI (NYTimes) - There was no shortage of television cameras when Sri Reddy, an Indian film actress, took off her top.

Reddy, a middling star in central India, announced on Saturday that she was staging a protest against sexual harassment in the Indian film industry, one of the bolder #MeToo-type moments that the country has seen.

She marched to the offices of a film commission, stripped half-naked and stood there glaring at a bank of cameras, hands covering her breasts.

"Are we girls, or things to play with?" she asked.

She was then whisked off by police to face possible charges of public nudity.

Several Indian actresses, after abuse allegations surfaced in Hollywood, have stepped forward to complain about a pervasive culture of sexual harassment.

The allegations included claims they had been groped, propositioned and forced to demean themselves to get work. Reddy, 28, has been one of the most vocal. In recent days, she has lobbed serious accusations against powerful men in the film business.

Reddy is not widely known across India, and staged her protest in Hyderabad, a big city in the south-centre of the country, but not nearly as important for the movie industry as Mumbai.

Deepa Narayan, a social scientist who has published a book on how women are treated in India, said "the first thing that happens when a woman in India takes a bold move, she is dismissed".

That seems to have already begun. Some actors accused Reddy of staging the protest just to bolster her career, a claim that she has rejected.