Three former women employees have come forward to make sensational charges of molestation against The Viral Fever (TVF) boss Arunabh Kumar.
It was a former employee from Muzaffarpur in Bihar, who posted her experience of being regularly molested allegedly by Kumar during her time at TVF.
She wrote, “It was way back in 2014 when I first met Arunabh Kumar. I was young and bubbly as I remember. I met him in a small cafe in BKC. He came across as charming fellow. What caught my attention was that he was another man from my same native state- Bihar. Trying to make his foothold in this brutal city called Mumbai. The conversation started with what I do where I have grown up and all that. I was 22 back then. Fresh out of a DU college. Trying my hands as a freelancer in production because no one would give me a full time job.”
“As it turned out, there was one more connecting dot. He came from the same city. Muzaffarpur. So we moved from “Main” to “Hum”. The typical way Bihari’s speak. “Humko Bambai me Bahut Akelapan Mahsoos Hota Hai” His typical response to how the city has been. And then he spoke about his struggles. I was in Awe. They way he had built his startup. And yes, now that i look back at those days, 2.5 years back when startup’s were cool, He looked Uber Cool.”
The woman in her post further alleged that how Kumar began harassing her when she was just 21 days into her job at TVF.
She wrote, “He looks at me and asks me — “ Chaturbhuj Sthan ka naam suni ho”? I am stunned. For Non Starters, 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 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” He suddenly holds my hand. Says “Madam, thoda role play karein”. 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.”
She said that the harassment became routine since then and she was molested on several occasions. According to the woman employee, she even threatened to go to the police, but Kumar said that “Police to meri pocket me hai.”
TVF has issued an official release denying the charges but since then two more former women employees have come forward making similar charges against Kumar.
The company said, “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.”
Ayushi Agrawal wrote, “Hello Indian Fowler .. I don’t know who you are but I am also an ex TVF employee too and I have had to face a similar experience working there. I felt exploited and cheated and I left my job under very bad circumstances. I hope things have worked out for you. It is indeed no place for a woman. I would never recommend anybody to work there.”
Another woman, Reema Sengupta, wrote, “I was shooting with him in the TVF office, for a web series I was directing last year. The first time we met at the recce, he asked me to send him my work, which I did out of courtesy. When we met on the day of the shoot, I asked him if he had seen the links. To this he said – why don’t you come over to my place and we can watch them together.
“We can also watch a movie. Which movie do you want to watch? I politely evaded the question and continued briefing him about 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! (sic)”
TVF is a popular online entertainment channel and has more than two million subscribers on YouTube.