Controversial PR consultant Suhel Seth has pulled out of an upcoming conclave in Delhi after MeToo India campaign raised objections over his participation amidst serious allegations of sexual harassment by several women. Seth was scheduled to speak at ‘Inkpot Conclave’ at a posh hotel in Delhi on 18 November. The organisers of the event had taken to Twitter to announce the names of the speakers that included Shashi Tharoor, author William Dalrymple and fashin designer Rohit Bal among others.
Its tweet on the scheduled event read, “Inkpot India Conclave is a gathering of thought leaders, of specialists, of you and me, to re- ink, rebrand and reassert the value of Indian art, culture and literature. With the finest thought leaders in conversation with one another, Inkpot promises to be a power-packed event.”
Reacting to the organisers’ decision to invite an alleged harasser of women, MeToo India tweeted from its official handle, “Four women had named Suhel Seth, (@inkpotindiaconclave) during #MeToo. He simply went underground, obviously waiting for this to blow over, as it clearly did, now that he’s back in circulation.”
Four women had named Suhel Seth, (@inkpotindiaconclave) during #MeToo. He simply went underground, obviously waiting for this to blow over, as it clearly did, now that he’s back in circulation. https://t.co/fC3qshzwBG pic.twitter.com/Na2Ro73UP9
— #MeTooIndia (@IndiaMeToo) September 30, 2019
Soon, the organisers of the event tweeted a clarification stating that Seth had pulled out of the conclave ‘owing to his travel commitments and his impending fatherhood.’ It said that Seth will ‘not be at any public speaking engagement and hence has expressed his inability’ to be at the Delhi conclave.
— Inkpot India Conclave (@InkpotConclave) October 1, 2019
Elsewhere, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor too tweeted saying that he had not confirmed his participation at the conclave. Tharoor wrote, “Yes & i am supposed to be in the UAE! Clearly this announcement is premature since my participation was subject to confirmation which we have never provided!”
Yes & i am supposed to be in the UAE! Clearly this announcement is premature since my participation was subject to confirmation which we have never provided! https://t.co/8wolvrVPix
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) September 30, 2019
Dalrymple said that he too will not be able to speak at the event since he too was busy promoting his book in Mumbai on the day of the scheduled event. “Some confusion here: I am in Mumbai all that week, unleashing Anarchy,” he wrote.
However, the clarification and decision to pull out of the event by Tharoor and Dalrymple came only after the MeToo India raised its objections. The Inkpot India Conclave has been promoting its confirmed list of speakers since 5 September.
Last year, Tata Sons had decided to terminate its contract with Suhel Seth’s company Counselage in the wake of serious allegations of sexual misconduct by several women under the MeToo campaign.
Among those, who accused Seth of sexual predatory was a former journalist Ishita Yadav, who had taken to Twitter to write about her experience of facing sexual harassment by Seth. Another woman, Natashja Rathore, too had accused the motormouth socialite of similar charges. Addressing Seth, Natasha had written, “You used your power to take me home instead… You then threw yourself at me although I was clearly uncomfortable. You shoved your tongue in my throat even when I resisted — I whacked your head and said ‘behave yourself’. You put your hand into my kurta and grabbed my breast.”
This had then prompted many other women to come forward and narrate their horror stories.