By Sunday, one blog on Medium was going viral. The writer of the blog titled ‘The Indian Uber- That is TVF’, identified only as The Indian Fowler, had written about how she had been sexually harassed by Arunabh Kumar, one of the founders of The Viral Fever.
The allegations were detailed. The writer, who claimed to have worked with TVF, said that she had joined the company in 2014 when she had just graduated out of Delhi University. The writer spoke of being an admirer of Kumar’s and how they had bonded because they hailed from the same city in Bihar. The writer also said that it had been a dream job…until the harassment started.
The writer says that she was harassed multiple times by Kumar in different ways:
“One instance was the Ola deal. The Ola team was meeting him and we were taking notes. He walks out of the meeting with some excuse and calls me for some notes. I walk up. He says its time we do a quicky. I am stunned. And i told him i will go to the police. He says ‘Police to meri pocket me hai’. I walked out deciding never to come back. Then get a call from Legal saying that I am in a breach of contract. Even my Mom tells me not to fight them. Why? Because a 24 year old girl cant fight an IIT guy with so much of money. He calls up my father and tells him that i am making up stories. Whatever that means.”
“Arunabh, I know that you know who I am. But then, F*** you too.”
As the blog was shared across platforms, an account that claimed to be the official account of TVF wrote a response post to the original Medium article, vowing to find the author and bring them to “severe justice” for the false allegations.
However, at least one other woman who had worked with Kumar before wrote a Facebook post about the harassment as well.
The woman, Reena Sengupta, said that she had worked with TVF in the past and listed how she had been harassed:
Another woman wrote about how he had misbehaved with her, but also said that it was in a non-work setting and years ago:
Another comment on the original blog was by someone who said she had been harassed at the company too:
Multiple employees at The Viral Fever spoke up on Twitter with all of them flatly denying the allegations.
At least two of them said that there was no former woman employee who fit the blog post author’s profile. And they also refuted the claims that there was no Human Resources department in the company.
One of the co-founders Biswapati Sarkar tweeted:
A director who works with the company tweeted:
And another employee tweeted:
But Twitterati pointed out that it had already gone beyond just a single complaint and was more about the failure to handle complaints of harassment. Some pointed out that the company’s statement also didn’t sound like they believed the complainant:
At least one person thought the solution was to boycott the company much like the call to boycott Uber after allegations of sexual harassment ‘:
It remains to be seen what happens in the coming days. TVF hasn’t responded beyond the first statement and it’s unlikely they will remain silent on the matter. It’s also not clear if Kumar intends to respond also or will remain mum and speak through the company instead.
One thing’s for sure, this isn’t over just yet.