MUMBAI 12 JULY:
The Mumbai Press Club strongly condemns the language and behavior of actor Ms. Kangana Ranaut in respect of the news media, and in particular towards PTI journalist, Justin Rao.
During the release on 7th July 2019 of a song sequence of the film ‘Judgmental Hai Kya’, when Justin Rao asked Ms. Ranaut a few questions, she without provocation lashed out at him and accused Rao of running a ‘smear campaign’ against her. Even as Justin Rao was responding to her accusations, the event managers took away the microphone, and he and other media persons were pushed around by bouncers at the event.
Soon after the incident, instead of making amends, Ms. Ranaut’s manager and sister of Ms. Rangoli Chandel, launched an attack on twitter where she mocked news media, in general, using abusive and unacceptable language, calling out journalists as “nalayak”, “nange”, “saste” and “bikau”.
The Entertainment Journalist Guild, which first raised the issue, has pointed out that this is not the first time Ms. Ranaut and her manager-sister have insulted and abused journalists. It has become part of their unprofessional conduct. While the producer of the movie, Ms. Ekta Kapoor, has apologized for the incident, Ms. Ranaut has refused to do so; instead, she has heaped further insults on the members of the news media by releasing another abusive video.
The Mumbai Press Club stands fully behind the Guild to demand Ms. Ranaut tender an apology to Justin Rao and the other journalists for her behavior. We also fully support their call for a complete boycott of her events.
We have examined the footage of various videos and it is clear that while Justin was fully composed, Ms. Ranaut was abusive and insulting to Rao accusing him of writing against her movies. While Rao denied he had run a ‘smear campaign’, it must be pointed out that as a journalist he was fully within his rights to criticize her work. A job of a journalist is to provide an independent assessment of entertainment content; and critical commentary cannot be reason enough to lose control, turn against the media and hurl expletives.
The Mumbai Press Club will be examining the issues in detail and if necessary take up the matter with the various associations of filmmakers. Since this has been a serial problem, we will also examine the option of pressing criminal charges of abuse, defamation, and intimidation against Kangana Ranaut; as well as seek civil compensation for preventing journalists from carrying on their professional work.