Following serious allegations of sexual harassment raised against Ere Gowda, writer of national award winning Kannada film Thithi, the Dharmashala International Film Festival (DIFF) has cancelled the screening of 'Balekempa’ film and has made it clear that Ere Gowda will not be participating in the festival in any way.
In an official statement released by DIFF on its twitter handle, it says that it is committed to creating a safer, welcoming and inclusive space, and further that the festival has zero tolerance towards abuse, harassment, assault and intimidation.
“The film Balekempa directed by Ere Gowda was announced as DIFF's closing night film. Following the allegation of sexual harassment against Ere Gowda, DIFF will not screen Balekempa and Ere Gowda will not be participating in the festival in any way,” DIFF states.
On Tuesday, an anonymous girl and an aspiring filmmaker accused Ere Gowda of sexual harassment, which was shared shared by Gurvinder, also an award winning filmmaker.
The post in the name of Ekta, describes the ordeal she faced at the hands of Ere Gowda when she had come to Bengaluru in search of mentor to learn the process of screenwriting.
The girl says that the incident that happened at his friend's place while she had been with him as he was those days working for his film Balekempa.
"...Ere came back and lay down beside me. He came near me and tried to kiss. I told him that I am not interested and pushed him away. That was the start of it. He would put his hand on my chest. I would push it away. The hand would come back. When I look back now, I know that if I had texted my friend and asked him to come, he would have come. But at that moment, I was petrified. Ere was tall and much stronger than me. I did not want to piss him off for I knew that I wouldn’t be able to fight him. My body had gone into survival mode. I knew that I just want to get through this one night. And so it went on. He would try to remove my bra. I would try to push him off. He kept coming back. I told him that I am on my periods. He asked me if I am lying. I told him that I could show my blood-wet pad if he is interested. I don’t know how I managed to close my eyes and sleep off. When I opened my eyes he was still there, staring at me. He said that it is not possible for him to sleep. He asked if he could masturbate in front of me. I just lay there. He jerked off in front of me. Then he went to the toilet to clean up. Some part of me was relieved. I thought that it is over. But he came back, pushed me down on the bed, got on my back and masturbated on me. By now, I was dead inside. Not a word or cry came out," the girl wrote as she goes on to tell on what made her reveal it now which happened just before Harvey Weinstein incident came into light.