The Viral Fever CEO and Founder Arunabh Kumar on Monday called the slew of sexual harassment allegations against him fake. “I unconditionally and unequivocally deny all these allegations,” he told Mumbai Mirror.
On Sunday, in a blog post on Medium titled “The Indian Uber - That Is TVF”, a former employee of the entertainment company chronicled the months of harassment Kumar had allegedly subjected her to since 2014. She accused him of making lewd comments, molesting her and making countless passes at her both in office and during shoots and also “acting as a pimp”.
Since then, three other women have taken to social media to accuse Kumar of harassment and molestation. “Social media has already declared me an offender, but I am ready to address all the allegations against me,” Kumar told the tabloid.
The woman identifies herself as “Indian Fowler” on Medium, after former Uber employee Susan Fowler, who had exposed cases of sexual harassment at her firm on social media last month. In her post, the only clue to her identity is that she comes from Muzaffarpur. But Kumar has denied hiring any staff from the city in the past three years.
TVF, too, declared the claims in the article were “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.”
However, actor-director and TVF employee Nidhi Bisht on Monday night urged women “to come forward without fear and lodge a formal complaint” if they had faced similar ill-treatment at the TVF workplace. Bisht, who had earlier dismissed the allegations against Kumar as baseless, admitted that she was shocked by the number of women speaking out against the TVF chief since Indian Fowler’s post went viral on social media.
Bisht emphasised on TVF’s “zero tolerance” policy towards workplace harassment and said the company’s Prevention of Sexual Harassment Committee along with the legal and human resources teams will take appropriate action.
Kumar has lodged a complaint with Medium to have the “defamatory” post removed from the website. The blogging platform has sought 48 hours to verify whether the post is “fake” as Kumar has claimed. “I am open to receiving a police complaint so that I can respond legally as well. TVF is bigger than me and if there is a remote chance that I have done any wrong, let me be persecuted,” he told Mumbai Mirror.
“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,” he told the daily.