A blogger, who goes by the pseudonym ‘Indian Fowler’, had accused Arunabh Kumar of sexual exploitation.
She had accused The Viral Fever (TVF) founder and CEO Arunabh Kumar of sexually exploiting her over a period of two years during her stint with the company.She has finally come forward and lodged an FIR against Arunabh Kumar.
In a post, which she deleted later, she wrote: I have spoken to [a] few of us [other women who claimed to have been sexually harassed by Kumar] and have found support. This time around, it’s a fight to the finish, hence I won’t take names. We have [a] few cases filed in three cities, and one of it is mine, so I would expect [the] courts to take cognisance of that. I hope it reaches logical conclusions. This is my last attempt. I have filed it [FIR] finally. I don’t know if it will reach a logical conclusion. If it does, I will drink a bottle of tequila that night. If it doesn’t, I will trust that God doesn’t exist.
She wrote: I was getting where he was leading the discussion to. I avoided an interaction. I said ‘Arunabh, aap bade bhai hain. Meri tabiyat thodi theek nahi hai. Kya karna hai bataiye. Hum karke ghar jaayenge (Arunabh, you are like an elder brother. I am not feeling well. Tell me the work. I will finish it and leave)’. He suddenly holds my hand. Says ‘Madam, thoda role play karein (Madam, do some role play)’. I was stunned.
“Since then it became routine. 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 adds.
Even threats of filing an FIR did not discourage the honcho as, he allegedly said, “’police to meri pocket me hai (Police is in my pocket)”. Helpless, she told her immediate bosses about her plight only to get flippant responses like ‘hota hai (it happens)’ and ‘walk out’.
Reacting to the accusations, TVF posted their official statement which said ,”All the allegations made against TVF and its team in the article are categorically false, baseless and unverified. We take a lot of pride in our team and in making TVF a safe workplace that is equally comfortable for women and men. We will leave no stone unturned to find the author of the article and bring them to severe justice for making such false allegations”, they wrote on the blog.
The former employee, who quit in 2016, claims TVF’s legal team still sends her reminders about breach of contract and fears she is being constantly tracked.
Soon two other women came out in her support substantiating the claims made in the now viral blog.
I was shooting with him in the TVF office, for a web series I was directing last year. 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. 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. I can only imagine what she must have gone through for 2 years! I remember telling my producer how creeped out I was and how I couldn’t wait for the shoot to be over. He made sure I wasn’t alone with Arunabh for the rest of the shoot. I also told someone at the agency we were working with about it. In fact, this article was sent to me by a friend who knew what had happened with me, asking ‘Same guy, no?’. Do I wish I had retaliated immediately? Yes. I didn’t because the agency and the client would have both suffered. In hindsight, that was wrong and I’m sure they would’ve supported my decision. But today, I had to choose between keeping quiet and extending my support to a girl who has bravely spoken up. So I am choosing to do the right thing. TVF can release as many ‘official responses’ rubbishing these claims as they’d like. This is my truth. Indian Fowler, whoever you are, please get in touch if you need help.