Gursimran Khamba and Tanmay Bhat./ Image: Instagram
A day after comedy group AIB announced that Tanmay Bhat will step down from the post of CEO, the comedian apologised for failing to live up to the "ideals" he propagated while promising to be a better leader in future. While Bhat was under attack for his inaction in the complaints against writer-comedian Utsav Chakraborty, Khamba has been directly accused of sexual misconduct. He has left the company to launch his own venture.
On Thursday, in a long Instagram caption to the AIB statement, Bhat said he felt "deeply sorry" for the distress he caused to his friends. "The hardest part about everything that has happened in the last eight months is to come to terms with my own failings as a leader and as an individual. "... I am deeply sorry to my colleagues who've had to go through immense stress that I feel responsible for. I realise that in the past, I've failed to live up to ideals that I've propagated myself, and my resolve is to ensure that this never happens again."
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The hardest part about everything that has happened in the last 8 months is to come to terms with my own failings as a leader and as an individual. But I know that owning up, being vulnerable, and taking responsibility are the only ways to move forward. I am deeply sorry for the distress I’ve caused to my friends, and anyone affected by my actions. I am deeply sorry to my colleagues who’ve had to go through immense stress that I feel responsible for. I realise that in the past, I’ve failed to live up to ideals that I've propagated myself, and my resolve is to ensure that this never happens again. I ask that you believe my intentions in good faith while holding me to my words. If I make any lapses in judgement in the future, I welcome critique and accountability from followers of my work, both men and women. In any leadership capacity in the future I will strive to build spaces in which women feel welcomed, valued, safe, heard and nurtured. I am committing to a daily process of unlearning, rewiring, and learning. To those who continue to have faith in me — thank you for giving me this invaluable opportunity to change and grow. I want to now look forward and let my actions prove my growth. Thank you.
The comedian said he will strive to create an environment in "any leadership capacity in the future" where women "feel welcomed, valued, safe, heard and nurtured". In its statement AIB said their YouTube channel was "dead for the foreseeable future" and they had to let go of their employees. In Khamba's case, the company said they appointed a two-member External Committee (EC) -- comprising a senior partner at a law firm and a diversity consultant -- to look into the allegations. But the comic had stepped away from the investigation process during its course, citing "issues with procedure", AIB said in the statement.
The company said it will continue to be managed by remaining two members Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya, who will also pursue solo interests in the coming future. Khamba, in an independent statement, on Wednesday said he had to withdraw from the enquiry as he felt "due process" was not being followed by the Internal Complaints Committee.
"I voluntarily chose to participate and began by extending all possible cooperation to this committee. However, this process which lasted four months was replete with procedural lapses and did not follow principles of natural justice. Despite my repeated requests to follow due process, these lapses continued," he said, adding that his request for a fresh committee to be constituted was denied.
"I was left with no choice but to withdraw from the enquiry. Till date, I maintain that I am happy to cooperate with any committee that is constituted fairly and follows principles of natural justice. "The silver lining, however is that through all of this. I got a chance to reflect and think about what I'm truly passionate about, who I want to work with and what I'd want the next chapter of my life to be. With that - I am thrilled to announce the launch of my new venture Light@27," he said.