TVF has rubbished all allegations and released a statement, which has drawn flak for being threatening instead of sensitive.

After anonymous blogger multiple women allege sexual harassment at TVF Arunabh Kumar and TVF, via Facebook
news Sexual harassment Monday, March 13, 2017 - 20:48

An anonymous woman by the screen name of ‘Indian Fowler’ made a shocking allegation against TVF’s CEO Arunabh Kumar on Sunday. In a blog she wrote on Medium, she accused him of sexually harassing and molesting her on multiple occasions.

Fowler writes that while her 22-year-old self was initially charmed by Arunabh. “I was in awe. The way he had built his startup. And yes, now that I look back at those days, 2.5 years back when startups were cool, He looked Uber Cool,” she wrote.

She joined TVF when he offered her a job. Soon enough however, the sexual harassment began. The first alleged incident happened on Fowler’s 21st day in the organisation. Arunabh called her back to office for some work and once they were alone, made sexually suggestive comments at her.

“Humko Chaturbhuj Sthan Bahut Pasand Hai. Udhar commercial deals hoti hain. Tum Bhi to commercial deal pe aayi ho,” he told her. (“I like Chaturbhuj Sthan (a red light area in Mumbai) a lot. Commercial deals happen there. You have also come here on a commercial deal.”)

Arunabh then allegedly proceeded to grab her hand and said that should they do “role play”.

“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,” writes Fowler.

Fowler then alleges that Arunabh would try to “lift her” or pretend to be inebriated and fall on her. Fowler did not receive help from anywhere, not even within the organisation. Her mother told her to not pursue the harassment legally given Arunabh’s influence and power.

Fowler says that she walked out of TVF last year. “I am not as strong as many other women. I just need my life back. I don’t think these guys would let me have one. The constant reminders from their legal on my obligations tells me that I am being tracked,” she writes.

TNM has not been able to independently verify the Indian Fowler’s identity or claims.

It appears that their revelation opened a can of worms. In the day since the blog was published, multiple women have come out with similar allegations against Arunabh and TVF.

A woman who claims to be a former TVF employee said that she had a “similar experience” at TVF. She said that she felt “exploited and cheated”. “It is indeed no place for a woman. I would never recommend anybody to work there,” she wrote in the comments section of the blog.

This woman clarified to TNM that the incident she referred to was not an experience with Arunabh but with another colleague who was working at TVF at the time.

Two other women have put up Facebook posts describing similar incidents while interacting with Arunabh.

Reshma Patra wrote a post saying that Arunabh was her batchmate and recounted an incident from 2012, when Arunabh was struggling.

She alleges that when she met Arunabh to catch up over coffee one day, he propositioned her to come to his place and dance for him. “I thought he was being funny. But NO, he was serious. He said he would like to get naked & see me stripping and dancing for him."  

Another woman alleged that she was sexually harassed by Arunabh when she was shooting for TVF.

She wrote in a Facebook post that when she sent her work to Arunabh on his request, he suggested that she come to his place where they could watch it together. Arunabh also said that they could even watch a film together.

She evaded his question. However, Arunabh allegedly continued to touch her inappropriately throughout the shoot.

“As I talk, he finds some lame excuse to place his hand on my hand (which was on the table in his glass cabin). In the middle of the shoot, he touches my shoulder tattoo and tells me he finds it sexy. After every other shot, he would come over to the monitor to see how the shot looks, but at the same time graze his hand against my waist. All this in a 5-hour shoot. I can only imagine what she must have gone through for 2 years!” she wrote.

She writes that she wishes she retaliated immediately but did not, thinking about the agency and the client. “But today, I had to choose between keeping quiet and extending my support to a girl who has bravely spoken up. So I am choosing to do the right thing,” she said.

In the comments section of the this post, another woman has recounted an incident. In a 10-minute interaction with Arunabh, the woman alleges that he went from “work talk to commenting on my waist and how fit I was and then eventually inviting me to his house that night for a yoga session.” 

TVF meanwhile has rubbished all the allegations and released a statement, which has also drawn flak for being threatening instead of sensitive. Read it here:

“This is an official response from TVF on the anonymous article published on Medium by the Indian Fowler. The article is completely ludicrous and defamatory against TVF and its team.

All the allegations made against TVF and its team in the article are categorically false, baseless and unverified. We take a lot of pride in our team and in making TVF a safe workplace that is equally comfortable for women and men.

We will leave no stone unturned to find the author of the article and bring them to severe justice for making such false allegations.

It is our humble request that you do not to share an unsubstantiated, unverified and anonymous article such as this. We would like to thank all our fans and friends for their continued support.”

TVF’s Biswapati Sarkar took to Twitter to say that Indian Fowler’s story was a “sensationalist” and untrue story. “I am working really hard and I won't waste any more of time trying to convince random people about baseless rumours,” he said in one tweet.

Nidhi Bisht, a writer and director at TVF, referred to Fowler’s blog and said that she had “no memory of who this female employee is”. She also called it a “baseless and fictitious allegation.” However, Bisht also tweeted that they were “checking the facts internally” and would revert.

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