On 27th July, Usman Mukhtar posted on Instagram about being bullied and harassed by a female artist he had worked with back in 2016. In his post, he didn’t name any names but went on to describe his ordeal, “I have been harassed, blackmailed, bullied online for 1 and a half year by this woman. The harassment was reported to FIA…They investigated the case properly and then finally took her statement. But this person still does not stop!”
It all began when Usman Mukhtar worked with the anonymous artist in 2016 on her music video and they had numerous creative differences and multiple arguments. After they decided to part ways, the music video was released without giving any credits to him as a director, which he had asked for. However, he was still okay with it since the video wasn’t something he could relate to as an artist anyways. For the next 3 years, he went on to face many false claims made against him on social media.
One of those claims was that he had the music video removed from Instagram, which Usman clarified was Impossible since he had no rights over it nor was his name on it – due to which there were very slim chances his copyright claim would be entertained. Moreover, he claimed that he would never infringe on an artist’s right to own their content. “If I didn’t block it then, then I have no reason to block it now”, he said.
Mudslinging and Declining Mental Health
He added that he had wanted to resolve the matter quietly but he can’t remain silent anymore when his character is being constantly maligned and when his family and friends are being targeted with harassment. Moreover, he expressed how this situation has taken a toll on his mental health and his anxiety had peaked. He also expressed frustration that this person didn’t even spare his mother, who has dementia, and claimed that she was in this state because of his neglect.
“I know that people grow and change and learn and unlearn…I respect every woman’s right to freedom of speech and I still chose, despite my experience, to believe any woman when she comes out with accusations or claims of harassment or abuse. But I will not bow down when that very same right is used so falsely and maliciously to damage my reputation and my mental health”, stated Usman.
Soon after the hashtag #StayStrongUsmanMukhtar began to trend on social media and many came forward to show their support.
Opening Up About Harassment Is Never Easy, Regardless Of Your Gender
Men Can Be Victims Too!
Is It Okay To Use The #MeToo Movement For Personal Vendettas?
Usman Mukhtar Thanked Everyone Who Came Out In Support Of Him
However, in another post today, he went on to say that he doesn’t want abusers misconstruing his words and using his story in any way because he will not tolerate it, “because he is done with abusers in his life”. Furthermore, he went on to ask people to not send the person in question (whose identity was revealed by internet sleuths) offensive messages as it is unacceptable. Usman Mukhtar urged everyone to respect the fact that this is now a matter for authorities to resolve.
We applaud Usman Mukhtar for coming out with the abuse he is facing and admitting to the toll it is taking on his mental health. Maybe, his actions can urge others in similar abusive situations to take charge and speak up against injustice. If we’ve learnt anything from the current events that have happened in Pakistan, it is to never brush aside instances as being minor inconveniences. If you feel that something is wrong, speak up about it and take relevant measures to safeguard yourself. Not only women, but men are also often victims of abuse and violence and it’s time we stop assuming that men can only be the perpetrators and never the victims.
This article is the collaboration effort of several members of Team FUCHSIA.