As the list of journalists accused of sexual harassment continues to grow, veteran journalist Vinod Dua and poet and novelist CP Surendran were accused of sexual harassment and misconduct.
A filmmaker recounted her experience of sexual harassment in 1989 by Vinod Dua, where she accused him of telling lewd jokes, stalking and groping. At the time, Vinod Dua was an established journalist, and the complainant had just graduated.
“One night as I came down to the parking, he was there. He said, he wanted to talk to me and asked me to enter his car - a black SUV/Jeep, I don't remember the make as I'm not into automobiles. Assuming that he wanted to apologise for his behaviour, I entered the car but before I could even settle down he began slobbering all over my face. I managed to get out and get into my office car and leave. I spotted him again in the parking in the coming nights and would go right back and wait until someone was ready to leave along with me in the office car. After a few days he stopped stalking me,” the filmmaker wrote in a Facebook post.
Vinod Dua denied the charge. He is currently consulting editor at The Wire. In a statement published by founding editors of the portal, they said that their ICC has taken note of the allegation and it awaits the deliberations of the committee on the matter.
Poet, novelist and journalist CP Surendran was also accused of sexual misconduct, harassment and sexist comments by 11 women who have worked with him over the span of his career. He has reportedly inappropriately touched women who have worked with, made jokes on rape victims, among other things.
Joanna Lobo, a features writer at DNA raised the matter of Surendran’s behaviour with the organisation’s ICC, led by their head of human resources. While this was supposed to be confidential, the matter reached Surendran.
“Then I realised that the whole office knew because it became this little joke that if someone stands close to me I might file a sexual harassment case against them,” Joanna told Scroll.
In a Facebook post, another journalist recounted her experience with Surendran, where he used a pick-up line on her, kept pursuing her despite her refusal, and asked if they could keep each other company that night.
"He got up from his chair and proceeded to dig his fingers deep into my neck and shoulders and didn't stop even when I told him to. Didn't stop till I loudly said that he's hurting me. He touched my face lightly and remarked, ‘You've got a dimple…’ I cut in and said, ‘... For the past 24 years, it's nothing to get excited about,’” the journalist wrote in her post.
Denying the allegations, Surendran called it “the lynch mob at work.” In a response to Scroll, he wrote, “I may have made what some people consider to be sexist comments. I believe sexism is an intellectual and physical reality. I choose not to think in given categories. This may be construed as arrogance.”