Filmmaker Mukesh Bhatt is said to have made shocking comments about sexual harassment in the Indian film industry, where he branded women “exploitative” and “cunning”.

Clarifying his position on the controversy, Bhatt told Times Of India, “I said that sexual harassment is not gender specific and in some instances, men take advantage of it and in some instances, women take advantage of the same. I stand by the firm belief that sexual harassment should not happen in the first place. It is a plague that needs to be eradicated completely. Both men and women have fallen prey to this. It cannot be generalised, or discriminated based on cast, creed, religion or gender. It is great to see people shed all their inhibitions and come out in the open to speak freely about their trials and tribulations.”

In the controversial interview earlier, Bhatt said, “What can we do? We cannot do any moral policing. We cannot keep moral cops outside every film office to see that no girl is being exploited.”

He further added, “I am not saying men have not been exploitative. They have been for centuries. But today’s woman is also not as simple as she pretends to be,” he said. “But just as there are good men and bad men, so also there are women who are exploitative and very cunning. Also blatantly shameless to offer themselves.”