In an anonymous article on Medium, a person identifying herself an ex-employee of Tiger global backed, The Viral Fever accused TVF founder and chief executive Arunabh Kumar of molesting her.
According to her complaint, there have been multiple instances of harassment. And as she went to complain to her bosses at TVF, she was asked to walk out or would receive a cold response from them. Twenty-one days into the job, she was sexually harassed the first time; after which, sexual advances by Kumar got routine.
After the anonymous post, a Facebook post by an independent contractor Reema Sengupta said she, too, was a victim of Kumar’s inappropriate overtures during a shoot. In a comment on the Medium post, “ex-TVF employee” Aayushi Agarwal said she too had a similar experience.
As per an interview by Quint with the ex-employee, she said, “I was in a meeting at Arunabh’s house with three other women. The meeting was taking place in the hall of the apartment. Arunabh left the meeting in the middle and went inside. Since he was gone for quite a while, I went into the next room to call him. Suddenly, I felt someone from behind grope my breasts, and when I turned around, it was Arunabh.”
“I was in shock. He was looking straight into my eyes. I rushed out of the room. The meeting resumed shortly after and lasted another 20 minutes. At the end of it, I walked out of TVF, never to return,” she added.
However, there has been no response from Kumara and the company denied all allegations made against its team. An e-mail from the company said, “We take a lot of pride in our team and in making TVF a safe workplace that is equally comfortable for women and men,”
Over the incident, TVF core team member Nidhi Bisht writes on Facebook that she was shocked to hear multiple women level sexual harassment charges at Kumar.
“After working for two straight nights, I wake up to an unverified article written by a non-existent person. People sharing, calling us names,” wrote Biswapati Sarkar, co-founder at TVF, on microblogging platform Twitter. “It makes for a great fictional story. I’m sure more anonymous ‘ex-TVF’ employee stories will drop in.”
To our surprise, these are not the only complaints against him. As per a report on Quint, another woman has come out with allegations against TVF founder Arunabh Kumar. The woman recounts, “Early last year, I was shooting with Arunabh in the TVF office, for a web series on people who changed professions to follow their passions. The first time we met at the recce, he asked me to send him my work, which I did out of courtesy. When we met on the day of the shoot, I asked him if he had seen the links. To this, he said – why don’t you come over to my place and we can watch them together. We can also watch a movie. Which movie do you want to watch? I politely evaded the question and continued briefing him about the shoot.”
“As I talk, he finds some lame excuse to place his hand on my hand (which was on the table in his glass cabin). In the middle of the shoot, he touches my shoulder tattoo and tells me he finds it sexy. When we were reviewing the shots, he would repeatedly graze my waist with his hand. He did this at least on four different occasions.” she added. The situation was as such that she had to ask the producer to make sure that she is not left alone with him.
“TVF has rubbished the medium.com blog and called the claims ridiculous, so I decided to come into the public domain and speak up. TVF must investigate the matter instead of rubbishing it. Why is an entire company jumping to the defence of one man?” she adds.
In another instance, a young woman alleges that she has been groped from behind without consent by the alleged.
“I liked one of his posts on Instagram, and after that numbers were exchanged. He then just asked me to come over to his place to watch a movie, it was very weird. We were supposed to go out on a coffee, and then he asked me to go to his place. So we were on the balcony of his home, having tea and I had given him no hint that I wanted something to happen. I told him I went paragliding once, so he just suddenly came from behind him and held me. Even when I tried to get away, he held me by my waist. It was totally uncalled for. I told him to move away. I am so glad that finally, someone has spoken up against him.”, she said in an interview with Quint.
In fact, not only TVF workers, Anurabh’s batchmates from IIT also had complaints about his character.
‘This incident took place in 2012 in Mumbai. I had messaged Arunabh because he was a former batchmate from IIT-Kharagpur. When we met for coffee, Arunabh asked me, “Would you go to my place, and dance for me?” I was shocked. He said he would like to get naked & see me stripping & dancing for him.’, she said.
Another former employee of TVF spoke out against her experience of sexual harassment when she was inappropriately touched by another male co-worker of TVF. She said, ‘It is a part of a culture, so many male employees had disgusting comments to make about women and in my email which I sent to HR, I have spoken about the workplace environment.’
While other TVF blatantly call the allegations as gibberish, here is what the comedians had to say:
Aditi Mittal a fellow comedian writes,
Silence from the comedy community is deafening.EVERYONE still”texting contacts”/”verifying facts” inspite of hearing stories abt it for yrs?
— Aditi Mittal (@awryaditi) March 13, 2017