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Ka Wade
THREAD (1/7). It’s strange living in the US & seeing the movement explode in India. There’s so much I want to say. For now, my MJ Akbar story. I was a 22-year-old reporter at the Asian Age sports desk in Delhi. I wasn’t hired by Mr. Akbar, I called him that.
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Ka Wade 10 Oct 18
Replying to @priyaramani
(2/7) I met him in his office, after being told by my sports editor, “Don’t worry, he’ll like you.” I wasn’t sure what that meant but remember feeling awkward as heck because MJ Akbar, this media legend, kept talking to me & moving his eyes down to address my chest
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Ka Wade 10 Oct 18
Replying to @priyaramani
(3/7) At that time, in 1998, I think there were maybe 5-6 active women sports journalists in the country, in print media, 1 in Delhi. This was a dream for me. I had written on sport in Pioneer but AA was my 1st full-time sports job. I was nervous, excited & wary
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Ka Wade 10 Oct 18
Replying to @priyaramani
(4/7) Mr. Akbar continued making me feel very uncomfortable till shortly thereafter, I fled. I came out & told Bobilli Vijay Kumar, my sports editor, but he laughed and said, “that’s just Akbar, don’t worry. He’s like that with everyone.” It happened again though.
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Ka Wade 10 Oct 18
Replying to @priyaramani
(5/7) He would stand behind at the desk. Too close. Or whatever. Then 1 time, I was “elected” to go tell MJ Akbar about a problem on a sports page. The hope was that he wouldn’t scream abusively at me like he would at everyone else. He yelled, while his eyes roved.
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Ka Wade 10 Oct 18
Replying to @priyaramani
(6/7) I’d had enough. I’d told my dad. He was prepared to come and confront MJ Akbar. I said I’d fight my own battles. So I said, “Sir, I’d much prefer if you’d look at my face instead of my chest when you’re talking to me.” He looked up. I told my colleagues.
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Ka Wade 10 Oct 18
Replying to @priyaramani
(7/7) I don’t recall if MJ Akbar & I ever spoke again. Blank. I would not have been able to work in AA if it hadn’t been for a bunch of sports desk colleagues who treated me just like a colleague & protected me. They shouldn’t have needed to. I’m grateful they did.
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Ka Wade 11 Oct 18
Replying to @KadambariM
In his rush to “defend” himself, my then Sports Editor at AA, Bobilli Vijay Kumar, seems to have corroborated my experience of MJ Akbar’s behavior. Sadly, 20 years on, he hasn’t realized that as my supervisor, it wasn’t enough to “warn” me, it was his job to make sure I felt safe
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Anahita Mukherji 10 Oct 18
How awful. I am so sorry this happened with you. And proud of your guts for calling him out.
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Ka Wade 10 Oct 18
Thank you, I don’t think I called him out though. I quit. Moved to Express very soon. I liked my sports desk colleagues but couldn’t bear Asian Age’s atmosphere. was absolutely right in her story on the culture. It was toxic.
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Nikita 10 Oct 18
So sorry it happened to you too Kadambari !
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Ka Wade 10 Oct 18
Replying to @NikitaTuliSood
Thank you, I just feel weird because in the larger scheme of things, given all the rest of the things that went on to happen with me — while covering cricket — this didn’t even really register, till everyone else brought it up, and I realized it was part of a pattern.
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