In a matter of a single day, the controversy around a woman’s open letter accusing The Viral Fever’s CEO Arunabh Kumar of molestation, has blown up. In her letter, posted anonymously on medium.com under the title ‘The Indian Uber- That is TVF’, she wrote the founder of the online content company allegedly molested her on several occasions during her tenure at the firm.
Since then, several other women have come forward with their stories of alleged harassment at TVF. Big wigs from the online comedy scene have let their opinions on the matter known and TVF has released a statement refuting all claims. Arunabh has given a clarification on the controversy as well. Here’s all that has happened so far:
The post goes online:
On Monday morning, a story started doing the rounds of the internet where an anonymous woman, under the username ‘Indian Fowler’ alleged she had to face molestation at TVF’s office in Mumbai.
The post read, “Right from Pitchers to Tripling, I was molested. Be it in parties where Arunabh would try to lift me or would try and fall on me pretending he is drunk.” She wrote that one night, he apparently made such strong advances that she had to lock herself up in the office bathroom until he went away. When she told her parents about it, he called her father and allegedly told him that his daughter was making up stories.
Read the entire post here.
More women reveal their stories:
On the blog post itself, a woman commented that she too was an ex-employee of TVF and had experienced similar harassment. “I felt exploited and cheated and I left my job under very bad circumstances,” she wrote.s
A film director also shared the blog post on Facebook with her own story of when Arunabh was allegedly indecent towards her. “In the middle of the shoot, he touches my shoulder tattoo and tells me he finds it sexy. After every other shot, he would come over to the monitor to see how the shot looks, but at the same time graze his hand against my waist. All this in a 5-hour shoot.”
Film writer Apurva Asrani also shared the post on Twitter and said that he knew of a woman who went through the same experience recently.
TVF issues a heavily worded statement
TVF commented their official response on the blog post on Monday. They called the accusations “categorically false, baseless and unverified.” Their words ‘We will leave no stone unturned to find the author of the article and bring them to severe justice for making such false allegations,’ did not go down well with many commentors on the thread who felt TVF seemed to be openly threatening the accuser with their harsh tone of the statement.
Comedy circuit reacts
Performers and writers from the Indian comedy community voiced their opinions on the issue through the day. Tanmay Bhat and Rohan Joshi of All India Bakchod expressed their concern on the matter. “Much to process after all that’s been read today. I hope there’s a fair investigation that’s followed in the coming days to come,” Tanmay tweeted.
Comedienne Aditi Mittal wrote several tweets asking the comedy community to raise their voice.
Nidhi Bisht and Biswapati Sarkar, two of the four core team members of TVF, also tried to clear the air on the issue through tweets:
Arunabh reacts to the controversy:
Arunnabh said to Mumbai Mirror in the interview that the woman should lodge her complaint with the police. “I would request the woman making these allegations to either report the matter to the police or to the HR team at TVF where she allegedly worked,” he said. On Reema’s allegations he said that he tells the woman she is sexy if he feels it. “The kind of insinuations the FB post makes are untrue. I am a heterosexual, single man and when I find a woman sexy, I tell her she’s sexy. I compliment women. Is that wrong? Having said that, I am very particular about my behaviour - I will approach a woman, but never force myself,” he said.
Nidhi Bisht issues new statement
My side. pic.twitter.com/cS6tfD2dVd— Nidhi NEETU Bisht (@EkThapaTiger) March 13, 2017
Nidhi, who is also a writer and director with TVF, sent out a tweet where she said that while she might not have experienced a hostile work environment at TVF, it may not hold true for others as well. “A few more posts have started coming out on social media regarding misconduct on Arunabh’s part. I am as shocked as you guys are,” she wrote.
She even requested women to lodge a formal complaint and that actions will be taken by TVF.
Rohan Joshi gets targetted
AIB’s Rohan Joshi shared a Reddit post on Twitter which had been brought to his notice. In the post, an anonymous user said that Rohan groped him. “He asked if he could drop me home I said yes. When we reached my home he tried to kiss me, when I refused and pushed him back he started shouting and abusing me saying ‘how dare I refuse him!?’ I started crying then so he calmed down and apologised. But just as I was about to get out of the car he groped my b**bs and said ‘f**k off sl*t’ This experience left me petrified,” the post read.
Rohan made it clear that he had not done anything such. “I would like to state categorically that this did not happen. I am open and willing, and even urge @MumbaiPolice to investigate this,” he wrote.
...And it turns out it was fake:
Sigh. I have no idea what is going on anymore. I think I've had enough internet for the week. https://t.co/XzggjLBlqf— Rohan (@mojorojo) March 14, 2017
More as we get it.
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