Two days after Indian journalist Bhupendra Chaubey harshly questioned Bollywood actress Sunny Leone, the former adult movie star has said that she felt "alone" and "scared" during the interview. Broadcast on CNN IBN on 19 January, the interview caused uproar in the country, with many accusing Chaubey of being "misogynistic".
During the 20-minute interview, Leone was consistently asked a series of questions about her "past". Chaubey also indicated that the actress was somehow responsible for the rise in porn consumption in India and asked her whether he would become "morally corrupt" by interviewing her. Despite all the support Leone has received, she has now spoken out about the experience, saying she felt "upset" but "hurt" about the way she had been treated.
"I am not the kind of person who would walk away from an interview," Leone told Huffington Post India. "But having said that, I felt what was happening was not right at all. And I felt completely alone... and no one was helping me out. I felt upset because I never imagined this is what I may have to face."
Leone insisted that she would have never walked away from the interview because that would have "proved every doubt he raised" about her and "everything he suggested" about her right. She said she was "never going to let him do that".
When asked whether anyone from the channel or the journalist himself had reached out to apologise following the national backlash, Leone said that they hadn't. Instead, she said that after the interview had been done in English, Chaubey asked whether they could do the same interview in Hindi. Leone said that she declined, telling him she would not be comfortable with that.
"I thought [Chaubey] was a senior journalist and why would he do this?" asked Leone. "It was very difficult for me and I was upset and scared. But I will never back away. I will never let anyone get to me. I will never let anyone – man or women – take me down. It was that spirit in me that made me continue with the interview."
Despite Chaubey hinting a number of times that Leone's past would hold her back in the Bollywood industry, a number of Bollywood stars have since reached out to commend Leone on the way she handled the interview. Actor Aamir Khan even reached out to the actress on Twitter to say that he would love to work with her, after Chaubey asked Leone whether Khan would ever work with someone with her past.