India’s comedy space has been under the scanner for its treatment of women, its harassment of female comedians, and its misogyny, and a prominent comedian has just gone ahead and reinforced many of these stereotypes.
Stand-up comic Kenny Sebastian has gone on an expletive-filled, misogynistic rant on Instagram following an online feud with activist-influencer Madhur Singh, who goes by the moniker of The Placard Guy. Singh and Sebastian had been sparring on Twitter over the last couple of days. At some point, Sebastian appears to have been called out on his Instagram by some of Madhur’s fans, at which point he directed a barrage of misogynistic abuse at them.
“You can’t fight placard guy factually, ” a user had commented on his Instagram. In response, Kenny Sebastian replied with “Teri ma randi,” saying that the user’s mother was a prostitute.
He repeated the same “teri ma randi” slur to another user who’d called him out on his lame comebacks.
When asked by another user why Placard Guy had even tried to start a fight with him, Kenny Sebastian replied with “Uski maa ko chod raha tha (I was f*cking (Madhur’s) mother.”
And most shockingly, Kenny Sebastian, when asked by a user if he needed burnol, replied with “put it in your mom anus?”
One fails to understand if this is supposed to be humour, but rape jokes are deeply problematic in any context. To imply that fucking someone’s mother is an insult to them is to deny women the agency they so deserve, and reduces them to mere sex objects. Patriarchal slurs like these are not only deeply disrespectful to women, but can also lead to sexual violence in the real world.
And India’s comedy space has been no stranger to the mistreatment of women. AIB, one of India’s most prominent comedy troupes, was forced to disband after it was revealed that the founders hadn’t acted on a sexual harassment complaint they’d received about an employee. Arunabh Kumar, the founder of TVF, was forced to resign as the CEO of the company he’d founded after several women had accused him of sexual harassment. Other comedians, such as Utsav Chakravarty, have also been involved in controversies for sharing unsolicited dick pics. And Kenny Sebastian’s latest Instagram comments show that far from learning from these experiences, misogyny still runs deep in India’s comedy circles.
Update: Kenny Sebastian has claimed on Twitter that there are “fake screenshots” that are circulating about him.
There are however videos circulating on Twitter that show the same comments.
As sexist Comedian @knowkenny is now Deleting all his comments.
Here is some proof, before he declare all the screengrabs fake. pic.twitter.com/QZQq4O5j7P
— Ashutosh🇮🇳 (@iashutosh23) July 8, 2020