ScoopWhoop co-founder Suparn Pandey has been accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault by a former senior executive, Catch News reports. An FIR has been lodged following this. ScoopWhoop’s other co-founders Sattvik Mishra and Sriparna Tikekar are also accused of abetting the harassment. Now, the case has taken a turn with a publication leaking conversations between the co-founders and complainant.
Soon after the formal clarification, a series of internal emails have got leaked. These are emails, which were sent by ScoopWhoop CEO Sattvik Mishra engaging in personal conversation between the victim and the employers.
To handle the situation in a professional manner, the company had released a formal statement maintaining that strict acting will be taken against anyone found guilty.
The statement reads:
“ScoopWhoop strongly condemns any kind of harassment at the workplace. We work towards ensuring a safe and secure workplace for all our employees and take any complaints of harassment extremely seriously.
In line with workplace laws, ScoopWhoop has an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). The ICC constitutes three of our most senior and experienced women employees and an independent observer who has served on ICC panels across various prestigious and international companies. 40 per cent of our workforce is women and we have equal representation in senior leadership positions. We have taken every step to ensure the complainant gets a fair hearing and are following the rule book on workplace harassment.
The complaint was forwarded to the ICC immediately on receipt and the same is being inquired as per law. The company is adhering to the rules and regulations set forth by the Hon. Supreme Court of India and the law of the land against sexual harassment at workplace and the investigation is ongoing. As an FIR has also been filed separately by the complainant, and the police investigation is ongoing, we are extending full cooperation to the police to conduct a full and fair investigation into the matter.
We are fully prepared to accept the findings of the investigations and dutifully take the necessary action if found guilty.”
The website stated that the emails have been sent by the company and found online. Reportedly, the emails have leaked the identity of the complainant by revealing the vertical of ScoopWhoop that she worked for. This action is surprising because the entire act is completely against the laws set by the Indian Penal Code and thus puts the company and the publication in an unacceptable place.
According to Section 228A of the IPC — the Disclosure of the identity of the complainant of certain offences, and if revealed the name or any other information of the victim is considered a punishable offence. The law gives full right to only the complainant if she chooses to be named or identified, not otherwise.
In the mail, Sattvik Mishra reportedly tried to negate the recent news by saying, “ScoopWhoop Media has always prided itself on the diversity of its workforce which is highlighted by the fact that all three publications of the company — namely ScoopWhoop.com, Vagabomb.com and GazabPost.com — are headed by women. Over 45% of our workforce is constituted of female staff (the industry standard is at 27%) and women employees form a crucial part of all our departments, including tech and finance (usually male dominated departments in Indian companies). This is testament to the fact that we have a very healthy gender mix as well as a free, strong and vibrant work culture which every employee takes pride in,” taken out from the leaked mails.
He then reportedly added in that email, “I then proceeded to tell the complainant that she and her team needed to up its game as it was the least performing division of the company. I also gave her examples of publications much smaller than the one she was handling, both from a financial and team strength point of view, who managed to perform much better. The feedback was not received positively and the complainant became defensive and an argument ensued. She continuously put the blame on everything else, from ScoopWhoop’s technology team to the general lack of innovation within the company.”
On the other hand, the complainant revealed to The Indian Express that the committee was not in place until February 2017.
The victim’s statement read, “Since June 2016, I have consistently complained to the organisation about Pandey’s behaviour. There was no committee to address this till much later, which is why I had to take it to my seniors. When they did constitute a committee, I gave my statement, hoping for a redressal.”
“I have given a statement to police and to a judge, and I am going to fight this till the end. This should not happen to anyone else. I quit my job because of this. The atmosphere at work was ruined and there was no action against Pandey. Today, the founders have come up with a statement, which is mere lip service,” she added.
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