Days after the BCCI banned Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul for their misogynistic comments on Koffee With Karan chat show, the show’s host Karan Johar has broken his silence over the controversy. Speaking to a news channel, Karan said that he was suffering from sleepless nights wondering how he could ‘undo this damage.’
Stating that he felt personally responsible for the controversy and its consequences on the two cricketers, Karan told ET Now, “I invited them as guests and so the ramifications and repercussion of the show are my responsibility. I have had so many sleepless nights just wondering about how I can undo this damage, who is going to listen to me.” He, however, clarified that the controversy had now ‘gone into a zone,’ which was beyond his control.
After the controversy erupted, forcing the BCCI bosses to ban the cricketers and instruct them to return to India from Australia, Karan too had come under condemnation. Many had accused him of promoting misogyny through his chat show. But the filmmaker denied the allegations and said, “I have to say and I don’t defend myself when I say this. I have to say that the questions that I asked the two boys are the questions I ask everyone including women. Deepika (Padukone) and Alia (Bhatt) were on the show, I asked them those questions. I have no control about the answers that come my way.”
While appearing on Koffee With Karan on 6 January, Pandya had narrated an incident when he bragged to his parents about losing his virginity. He had said, “Aaj mai kar ke aaya (Today, I’ve done that).” This wasn’t the only cringe-worthy comment that Pandya made about his sexual encounters on the show.
He told Karan Johar, “At a party, my parents asked me, ‘Which women are yours? I said, ‘This, this, and this one’,” Talking about his parents’ reaction, Pandya had said, “And they were like, ‘Wah, proud of you beta‘.”
On the show, Pandya had also boasted about getting intimate with multiple women. In response to a question on why he doesn’t ask for the names of women at nightclubs since he has trouble remembering them, he had said, “I like to watch and observe how they (women) move. I’m little from the black side so I need to see how they move.”
Noted cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle had urged the BCCI to sensitise young cricketers about ‘life beyond the dressing room.’ Bhogle’s tweet had read, “It is all very well to issue show-cause notices now to KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya. But I do wish the BCCI spends time in sensitising these young players to life beyond the dressing room; to getting them outside the bubble that is inevitable given the adulation they get.”
Reactions and fallout
Their comments had caused huge outrage with even former cricketers slamming the young cricketers for causing disrepute to every cricketer, who represented India in the past. Former India bowler, Harbhajan Singh, had said that he wouldn’t want the two cricketers in the same bus, where his wife and daughter are travelling in.
Elsewhere, Hotstar, which is owned by Star TV group, had removed the last episode of Koffee With Karan from its platform. A tweet by Hotstar read, “Certain remarks / comments made by the guests on the episode 12 of Koffee with Karan may hurt the sentiments of our users / viewers. As a responsible platform, we have removed the episode from Hotstar with immediate effect.”
Hardik Pandya had later apologised for his action.