India, Mar 14, 2017 – Mumbai Mirror
The Viral Fever founder Arunabh Kumar today denied allegations of sexual harassment that were shared by several women on social media in the past few days. While Kumar dared the women to file a police complaint, support for the women on social media has continued to grow.
It all began when a woman, identifying herself only as The Indian Fowler (a direct reference to Susan J Fowler, the Uber employee who alleged workplace sexual harassment recently), wrote a piece titled The Indian Uber- That is TVF on the online blog Medium. She stated that she joined TVF when she was 22 years old, fresh out of college. She admired Kumar as he was from her hometown Muzaffarpur and he had made it big in Mumbai. However, three weeks into the job, Kumar deliberately called her back to work after hours under the pretext that she had not completed her work. When she came back, he allegedly implied she should sleep with him.
“Arunabh is sitting on a chair in a casual manner. I walk up to him. He looks at me and asks me — “Chaturbhuj Sthan ka naam suni ho (Have you heard of Chaturbhuj sthan)”? I am stunned. 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 like Chaturbhuj sthan a lot. Commercial deals take place there. You too are here on a commercial deal).” 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 (Arunabh, you are the elder brother. I am not feeling very well. Tell me what work you want done. I’ll do it and go home).” He suddenly holds my hand. Says “Madam, thoda role play karein (Madam, let’s do a bit of role playing)”. 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.”
The harassment continued and whenever she tried to protest, she was told she was in breach of her contract. She complained to others in the office, but received no support at all. Even her own parents didn’t support her. With no other option, she finally quit last year. “I walked out of the place last year. Jobless, Mindless. I don’t have much to say. 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 wrote.
Over the years, The Indian Fowler may not have received much support, but her single post has overnight powered other women to reveal their experiences.