Almost a fortnight after being asked to resign as Penguin Canada’s chief executive officer following charges of sexual harassment against him, David Davidar, has broken his silence, claiming that whatever relationship he had with ex-colleague Lisa Rundle, who filed the suit, was consensual.
Davidar, perhaps the most high profile Indian in international publishing, issued a detailed statement through his lawyer in Toronto, maintaining that his relationship with Rundle who filed the $ 523,000 sexual harassment suit, had been a “consensual, flirtatious one” that “grew out of a close friendship”. He insisted he had not “sexually harassed” anyone”.
Rundle, former Rights and Contracts director at Penguin Canada filed the suit at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on June 9.
Davidar’s statement said that from late 2005, he and Rundle “spent significant time in each other’s offices” and at the latter's invitation, Davidar "played tennis with her at her tennis club" and had also “attended the theatre together.... had lunches in restaurants together”.
According to reports in Cana-dian newspapers Rundle in her suit had charged that at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2009 Davidar appeared at her hotel door “wearing excessive cologne but with the buttons of his shirt undone down to his waist”. She claimed he “forcibly… grabbed her by the wrists, forcing his tongue into her mouth”.
Davidar’s statement says Rundle and Davidar “kissed on two occasions”.