• Twinkle Khanna Reacts To TVF Harassment Case, Calls A Spade A Spade

    As you’ve no doubt heard, an ex-TVF employee posted on medium.com blaming the CEO of The Viral Fever (TVF) Arunabh Kumar for alleged sexual harassment. Kumar denied the charge and told Mumbai Mirror that the molestation allegations against him are “fake”. Or were they??

    What Kumar Says?

    “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,” Kumar said.

    For a while now, TVF is conducting an internal investigation of the allegations but there has been no development. With no action being taken in the case, advocate Rizwan Siddiqui finally filed a complaint against the digital entertainment start-up’s co-founder last week.

    Arunabh Kumar

    Arunabh Kumar (Pic by DNA)

    READ FULL STORY HERE: The TVF Sexual Harassment Case: How Deep Is It?

    Calling a Woman ‘SEXY’ at Workplace is Swell??

    While the woman was brave enough to gather courage and post her experiences of sexual harassment faced from the ex-boss — in her most horrible expectations — she was not up for the counter-allegations from the people. She received her share of the blame for hiding behind anonymity. Can’t believe that we live in a country where victim blaming is still alive and kicking when what we really need to look into is why several other women would want the least spotlight a self-esteemed woman could ask for. Have we ever asked ourselves why the hell she had to do that without mentioning her name? No we didn’t even try!

    For such cases, the victim faces utter humiliation. Moreover, in her defence, I would say that she is watching her own back professionally with maturity.

    Wait the drama isn’t over yet! Talking about ‘maturity’, would you or not want to hurl something on this person’s head when you hear him say these words?

    “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.”

    Google the meaning of ‘Reciprocating’ Mr. Arunabh Kumar! Not that you don’t know it but still reminding you about your current situation.

    The startup world is pretty shaken up with your answers to ‘what’s wrong if you call an employee sexy?’

    Your ex-colleague exposed your past intention of having an unprofessional relationship with her, she was in a traumatized phase for nearly two years of her tenure at TVF, and 50 more women are accusing you of similar offences. Don’t you understand what consequences this may lead to? Or, are you thinking that these too shall pass?

    TVF

    TVF (pic by Youtube)

    ALSO READ: Startup World And Sexual Harassment: Bizarre Or Normal? Women Speak Out

    There are also allegations that you tried to threaten the girl with severe action. Not a decent way to go dude!

    What struck me the most is when you’re so willing to complement a woman from the depths of your heart then why not telling her ‘great job’ instead of ‘sexy’? The last time I checked it was still 2017 when women started to revolutionize the imbalanced picture of the gender dysfunctionality in every sphere and honestly getting a pat on the back for being an incredible employee makes us happier than listening to the extra complement in an uncomfortable way.

    Twinkle’s Witty Remarks:

    Now the news is gathering more steam because of a few celebs who are taking a bold stand against the harasser. Among them is the feisty and indomitable Twinkle Khanna who has recently shared her concerns over workplace harassment and how women are falling in that trap over and over again. We couldn’t help but agree with her.

    READ: Twinkle Khanna Dissects Workplace Frogs In New Column

    The flag-bearer of feminism, Twinkle referred to the molesters who are cultivating such behaviour at workplace as “the Frogs Forever Franchise”. And, if you’re brainy enough then take her advice – go find your match “at bars, clubs, Tinder and some wedding of their relative”. She fearlessly warned the molester to keep their hands off the women at their office.

    “And as far as compliments go, try telling her about her great presentation skills, her way with numbers, her astute negotiations.”

    She writes, “Some of the big frogs caught in a net in recent times are Phaneesh Murthy who had to resign from Infosys after his secretary Reka Maximovitch accused him of sexual harassment, Tarun Tejpal who created a Tehelka with his elevator antics and a man whose picture I had framed and displayed when my son shared a stage with him, RK Pachauri, then director general of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), who was later accused of sexually harassing a researcher at the organisation.”

    “A few days ago another big frog was added to the list and came in for some virtual dissection — The Viral Fever CEO Arunabh Kumar who is now making people’s temperatures rise in a way he probably never expected.”

    Khanna’s references are vital. She then added that one has to behave like a decent man and that if a certain feeling for the women at their workplace are serious, then, “respectfully ask her out for a drink, and if she refuses your polite offer, then go and drown your sorrows in that very drink and leave her alone. Do not stalk her, touch her, send her lewd messages and emails. And as far as compliments go, try telling her about her great presentation skills, her way with numbers, her astute negotiations. Telling a woman she is sexy in the bedroom is fine, telling her the same thing in the boardroom is simply deplorable. So think before you croak or it may just be your turn to be doused in formaldehyde and dissected next.”

    “Sexy is an acceptable compliment within a work environment only if she is a stripper and you are her pimp trying to boost her confidence before she takes the stage.”

    You spoke our mind, Twinkle!

    So what do you think Kumar could have done instead of giving out the ‘legendary’ statement?

    READ: How Millennials react

    If it wasn’t for mild flirting (as Kumar thinks it is), and if the improper manners were kept on going from his end, if this woman hadn’t initiated the protest then who knows how thick it could have gone?

    Dear Women, Know How It starts:

    Such bosses wouldn’t stop praising you for not even a day (but that doesn’t mean you’re not worthy of praises but such people always undermine the ability over sexuality). He would find opportunities to brush up against your – even sit very close during meetings so that your legs or arms would touch; he would touch you very often; might put his hand on your shoulder or would try to offer you a lift; Don’t encourage if he even slaps on your butt once and would dare asking you if you liked it.

    The problem begins when an employee starts feeling comfortable. That’s when the awkward moments come. Seeing a woman has let her guard down and is being friendly enough seems to be the clue for the bosses to take advantage.

    Excusing his odd behaviour as a one-off incident won’t help. The more you try to be rational, the more scope for him to warm up.

    Was It Really Her Fault?

    Even after being harassed in such a manner, what else is left for her other than crying over the dirty behaviour? Why would he do that? He’d always been a perfect gentleman. Had I been wrong about him all this while? Or was it my fault by any chance? Have I given him a wrong impression? Many women get frustrated thinking the same way and asking themselves the very questions? Was it really her fault?

    My question to those molesters: Who has given you the right to put her in such a miserable position where she is forced to question her own character?

    Had anyone asked these questions before? NO, I hear loud and clear.

    Also Read: Why Women Do Not Report Cases Of Sexual assault At Workplaces

    So the big question now is ”How to deal with sexual harassment at the workplace?”

    Nithya David, Founder and CEO, Upstream Talent Management, says,

    • Speak up. The first time and every time it happens. 
    • Trust your instincts for what is inappropriate. Many a time, harassment is a thin line between overtly friendly and subtle molest. Do not worry about what you would come across as if you speak up. If it is even slightly uncomfortable for you, it has to stop then and there.
    • Do not walk away. Because when you do, you are encouraging a harasser to do it with someone else.
    • Do not be polite. For the same reasons. 
    • Do not be scared. Speak up even if it is the security guy or the CEO.
    • And do it not just for you, but for all the women who work.

    Also Read: Law alone can’t deter sexual harassment at workplace

    Read More Stories By Ria Das

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