Disclaimer: As reported by HT, Firstpost and India Today.
It wasn’t that long ago, merely a few weeks, sometime in late March when TVF was trending across the country due to sexual harassment allegations against its CEO Arunabh Kumar.
Now it is ScoopWhoop’s turn and this time it has taken one step forward as allegedly a FIR has been filed against the co-founder Suparn Pandey.
The FIR is said to have been filed at the Vasant Kunj (South) Police Station, Delhi has also been confirmed by Chinmoy Biswal, the additional deputy commissioner of police (South). The case has been registered under IPC sections 509 (insulting modesty of woman), 354 A (sexual harassment) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
As of now, no arrest has been made as the police are still investigating the matter and finding out if there is any evidence to the allegations.
As reported by another website, Suparn Pandey has also filed for an anticipatory bail, which is generally applied for by an individual if they are in anticipated to have committed a non-bailable offence.
Also, according to reports, the other co-founders Sriparna Tikekar and Sattvik Mishra has also been named in the FIR as aiding and abetting the whole matter and not taking due action against the harassment happening.
The complainant, who was in employment with ScoopWhoop for 2 years, according to news reports, has accused Pandey of passing lewd and indecent remarks, comment on her sexuality and allegedly also sending her a very inappropriate video over work mail.
According to the complainant, she repeatedly brought this harassment to the co-founders, especially Titekar but no action was taken, in fact she was made to work with Pandey even after bringing his actions to light.
As per the FIR, the harassment that had started on a verbal level, soon reached a physical level, when Pandey emboldened due to the inaction taken by senior management would get uncomfortably close and/or play with the complainant’s hair.
According to the FIR,
‘Mr. Pandey got so bold as to send me a lewd video over the official Gmail chat, in which the words were “aapnu jeans dheeli karo”‘.
Perhaps the most appalling thing, regarding the FIR, is how the 2 other co-founders reacted to the complaints by the former employee. Instead of helping her, they “turned on the complainant, publicly humiliating her and driving home the message that she ‘had no authority in this situation’”.
The harassment seems to have continued on for a long time despite repeated efforts by the complainant to bring the matter to attention, reads the FIR.
As per the FIR, the complainant finally reached her limit on 7th June 2016 when this incident happened,
“Mr. Pandey approached me after the meeting, between 8-9:30 p.m, when I was alone at my work desk and asked me to be less ‘aggressive’ in my dealings with other people and learn to ‘pour some sugar on it’. That after that, he then got up, kissed my forehead and walked away,’ the complainant recounts in the FIR.
According to the complainant’s claims, she was also disauded from lodging an official complain against Pandey and that the co-founders of the company intimidated her with threats to hurt her image and her career both.
It was only after all this that the complainant finally quite the company.
Update: ScoopWhoop has finally released an official statement on this matter as follow:
ScoopWhoop strongly condemns any kind of harassment at the workplace. We work towards ensuring a safe and secure workplace for all our employees and take any complaints of harassment extremely seriously.
In line with workplace laws, ScoopWhoop has an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). The ICC constitutes of two of our most senior and experienced women employees and an independent observer who has served on ICC panels across various prestigious and international companies. 40 percent of our workforce is women and we have equal representation in senior leadership positions. We have taken every step to ensure the complainant gets a fair hearing and are following the rule book on workplace harassment.
The complaint was forwarded to the ICC immediately on receipt and the same is being inquired as per law. The company is adhering to the rules and regulations set forth by the Hon. Supreme Court of India and the law of the land against sexual harassment at workplace and the investigation is ongoing. As an FIR has also been filed separately by the complainant, and the police investigation is ongoing, we are extending full cooperation to the police to conduct a full and fair investigation into the matter.
We are fully prepared to accept the findings of the investigations and dutifully take the necessary action if found guilty.
Image Credits: Google Images