Independent record label Azadi Records on Wednesday announced that they have withdrawn their participation in the annual music festival NH7 Weekender in Pune following allegations against the festival’s organiser – Only Much Louder, or OML.
The record label said a majority of the six acts that were scheduled to perform in Pune voted in favour of withdrawing from the festival. “As a label, we recognise the importance of speaking up against the prevalent culture of sexual harassment and assault in the music industry and society at large,” Azadi Records said in a Facebook post. “Sexual harassment and assault have no place in our society, and we will continue to speak up in support of the women and men who help highlight these issues.”
Only Much Louder is yet to issue a statement on the record label’s decision.
Only Much Louder is an entertainment company that runs comedy and independent music shows. According to a report in The Caravan this month, the company faced a backlash after a woman who interned at OML in 2014 accused the comedian Utsav Chakravarty of sexually harassing her during the #MeToo campaign last month. The woman said she notified the company because she had met Chakravarty at an OML event, but no action was taken against him.
In 2013, another OML employee had accused Gaurav Dewani, who headed the company’s sales division at the time, of forcing himself on her. The woman said she had informed the company’s senior management about the incident, but nothing was done on the grounds that the assault took place outside of work.
The woman said she had been discouraged from pursuing her complaint against Dewani and that several people at the company had told her “she was making a big deal” of nothing. The company, though, formed an Internal Complaints Committee, which recommended that Dewani be given a “final and strict warning” and made to pay any medical costs the complainant may have incurred.
The company responded to the allegations in The Caravan saying the magazine had selectively picked certain incidents to “paint a biased, one-sided picture”.