TVF founder Arunabh Kumar addresses molestation allegations
The online portal was put under the scanner after an anonymous blog went viral
The Viral Fever, or TVF, is no stranger to trending lists. Their popular web series (Pitchers and Permanent Roommates, among others) have earned them a sizeable following across platforms. But this Monday (March 13), TVF found its way to the news for a different reason altogether.
Protests under the hashtag #BoycottTVF echoed across social media sites after an anonymous blog post levelled allegations of molestation and workplace harassment against TVF’s founder and CEO, Arunabh Kumar.
The anonymous blog, posted on Medium.com, by an author known only as Indian Fowler, alleges that Kumar first started to verbally proposition her within a month of her joining the company, and continued to routinely do so.
“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. One instance was the Ola deal. The Ola team was meeting him and we were taking notes. He walks out of the meeting with some excuse and calls me for some notes. I walk up. He says its time we do a quicky. I am stunned. And i told him i will go to the police. He says “Police to meri pocket me hai”. I walked out deciding never to come back. Then get a call from Legal saying that I am in a breach of contract. Even my Mom tells me not to fight them. Why? Because a 24 year old girl cant fight an IIT guy with so much of money,” she revealed. (Read the full post here.)
As the blog gathered heat, two more women came forth to share similar stories of the uncomfortable experiences they faced at TVF—Reema Sengupta, a film-maker, blacklisted the company after being harassed at a freelance shoot, while another ex-employee, Aayushi Agarwal, agreed that TVF was no place for women to work at.
In its defence, TVF released an official statement denying all the allegations, and negating the existence of an employee from Muzaffarpur. In an interview with Mumbai Mirror, Kumar questioned the authenticity of the post, and revealed that he has approached Medium.com to delete the post if it isn’t verified within the next 48 hours. “I unconditionally and unequivocally deny all these allegations. Social media has already declared me an offender, but I am ready to address all the allegations against me. 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 stated.
TVF’s other co-founders backed Kumar’s claims and denied the existence of said employee.
While the jury is still out on the authenticity of the allegations, social media users did not take too kindly to the company’s promises to “bring them (the alleger) to severe justice for making such false allegations”.