Admitting that its initial response to allegations of sexual harrassment against its Founder-CEO Arunabh Kumar was “emotional”, The Viral Fever has issued out another official statement, a day after police complaint was filed against him. Since Sunday, several women have accused Arunabh of sexually harassing them. The first such allegation was by a woman, who claimed she worked at TVF in the past. Under the pseudonym of Indian Fowler, the woman wrote a blog post, alleging that Arunabh molested her on several occasions during her tenure at the popular production house. Her post went viral and within hours there were many other women, sharing their account of alleged exploitation by Arunabh. In the comments section of the woman’s post, came the popular digital channel’s first official response, rubbishing her claims.
“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,” the statement read. The response invited a lot of flak from social media users, who opined that it seemingly threatened the accuser and ignored the need of an investigation into the accusations.
On Thursday, a FIR was registered against Arunabh, after advocate Rizwan Siddiquee filed a third-party complaint. Siddiquee is not representing any woman. TVF’s second statement, issued today, reads, “It’s been a tough couple of days for us at TVF, as you would know. We needed to first & foremost take care of our internal team that has been most impacted by the recent events. Yes, there have been allegations of misbehavior against our Founder, from several women. When the first blog appeared on March 12th, it shocked all of us including our extended set of associates. The allegations were severe. We were confused & taken aback. The blog alleged that he/she was an employee with the organization & even indicated specific content production they were a part of. We immediately began checking the facts internally.”
Referring to the first accuser, the production house said that it hasn’t found the record of any such woman, who worked at TVF. “We did send out an instant response, which may have been a bit too quick & emotional. We recognize that we should have handled that response better. However, it is a fact that we have found no records of any such person on our pay roll, in that given time period, as described in the blog. Even as we were dealing with the first episode, several other allegations surfaced soon thereafter. Please know that we are sincerely looking into each one of them. We are committed to getting to the bottom of these allegations. Many of you have asked so we would like to confirm that yes, we have an ICC Committee set up in each location. We as a team of 240 strong professionals are determined to work hard in winning your love back. We will do everything in our capacity to learn & get better, get bigger. Give us that chance,” the statement concluded.