The Viral Fever, famous start-up that creates humorous video content for the web, is the latest to join corporate companies accused of sexual abuse at the workplace. Allegedly an ex-TVF employee, going by the name of Indian Fowler, wrote a first-person account of the ordeal she suffered at the hands of the CEO and co-founder, Arunabh Kumar. The article got published around midnight on Sunday.
Right after that, more reports of other women who have worked with TVF and claiming to have gone through similar challenges while working there, started flowing in. Until now, over nine women, including another ex-TVF employee Aayushi Agarwal and writer-director, Reema Sengupta, have come out about the harassment faced by them.
“He (Arunabh Kumar) looks at me and asks me — “ Chaturbhuj Sthan ka naam suni ho”? I am stunned. For Non-Starters, Chaturbhuj Sthan is the Red Light District of Muzaffarpur. I didn’t respond. His second question- “Humko Chaturbhuj Sthan Bahut Pasand Hai. Udhar commercial deals hoti hain. Tum Bhi to commercial deal pe aayi ho”. 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.” He suddenly holds my hand. Says “Madam, thoda role play karein”. I was stunned. None of this was something i had ever asked for. I ran away. Locked myself in the toilet. And cried. He went away. But i was thinking why the hell he is after me? What did i do to make this happen to me. That was the longest night of my life.”
She went on to say that she told her fellow employees like Naveen Kasturia about it but it went unnoticed and hence ignored. As the post went viral, TVF came up with an official response, calling the post “Ludicrous” announcing a plan to take necessary action against the women who have reported these experiences.
Incidents like these don’t seem to be new at even the ‘new age’ firms. We have recently heard about women-owned startup entrepreneurs facing sexual harassment from investors. And in media, a lot of this has gone under or unreported. Aditi Mittal for one tweeted “Silence from the comedy community is deafening. EVERYONE still”texting contacts”/”verifying facts” inspite of hearing stories abt it for yrs?”
Picture credit- Youtube