One of the best Online entertainment channels, The Viral Fever (TVF), came under the scanner when on March 12 a woman spoke up about being sexually harassed by the founder of TVF, Arunabh Kumar. The anonymous blog accused the Founder and CEO of the comedy channel of making non-consensual physical contact. The post titled “The Indian Uber – That is TVF”, has left the internet divided at the actions and reactions of TVF. The anonymous post encouraged various other women to come forward and reveal that Arunabh Kumar had sexually harassed many of them during their stint with TVF. TVF Arunabh Kumar Molestation Controversy: Ex-woman employee accuses The Viral Fever chief of sexual harassment in blog ‘Indian Fowler’
The YouTube channel chose to call these allegations and accusations to be false instead of actually conducting a basic inquiry on the incident. TVF members went on to question the identity of the woman, and Nidhi Bisht also said that no such person ever worked with TVF. However, more that nine women have accused Arunabh Kumar of sexual harassment and the situation has been getting tougher. In this time, the YouTube community has finally chosen to come forwards and share their thoughts on the issue and the immature and unprofessional way in which TVF has chosen to handle this sensitive issue.
The hilarious female comedian, Aditi Mittal unleashed on TVF and their comments in a Twitter rant where she questioned the silence forms the entire comedy community over such an important issue. Aditi Mittal’s Twitter rant questioned everyone from the people defending Arunabh to the journalists who were asking women for their comment and thoughts on the incident instead of questioning the men. Sexual harassment at workplace: New guidelines you need to know
“Silence from the comedy community is deafening. EVERYONE still” texting contacts”/”verifying facts” in spite of hearing stories abt it for yrs? And THAT my friends is why “there are so few female comics” a question that I get CONSTANTLY asked as if I should have the ans to the ques. The fact that the diggaj-log of comedy who make videos & even take money from brands for their saleable feminism are quiet today is telling. Journos calling all the women in comedy to go on record– NO. Call the men. See how much they defend their brohood now. Enough is enough.”
Members of TVF’s fellow comedy groups, All India Bakchod and East India Comedy also spoke up about the incident. Tanmay Bhatt, Ashish Shakya and Rohan Joshi from AIB spoke about the sad turn of events which has left the YouTube community in India shook. Tanmay Bhatt hoped for an investigation on all the allegations being made and also highlighted the importance of sexual harassment training in firms, especially in start-ups which have a completely different work culture. Tanmay went on to share his thoughts on why sexual harassment cases are not registered in various organisations as it is extremely difficult for women to come forward and speak about the incident.
Rohan Joshi made an extremely sensible and simple point where he declared that sexual harassment in workplace is not something that should exist in 2017. The talented comedian also spoke about TVF’s decision of not having any investigation and asked a valid question, “If they’re all lies, what better way to prove that than investigate impartially?”
Ashish Shakya also spoke about the incident on Twitter where he appreciated the women who spoke up and asked for an investigation into the event.
Sorabh Pant from EIC (East India Comedy) also spoke against TVF and founded Arunabh Kumar. The comedian took digs at Arunabh in a series of tweets and said that if these number of women are speaking up against him, it speaks tonnes of his character. “FYI: this is not about comedy. Or, TVF (who I really like) V. EIC V. AIB. This is about something way bigger. And, it can’t be ignored”, he summarised the issue.
MTV VJ and comedian Jose Covaco did the best possible thing for TVF when he fixed their appalling press release which revealed their choice of not investigating these serious claims.
Comedian Daniel Fernandes apologised and sympathised with all the women who had to go through this difficult time because of one person. The comedian also questioned TVF’s stand on the event and highlighted exactly what is wrong with it. “Victim shaming/threats is the last course of action #TVF must pursue. Own up, investigate, take action and implement counter measures.”, his tweet read.
TVF is known for making some of the most women-centric content in India on YouTube and their channel Girliyapa has a huge fan following. The comedy channel has made various skits on feminism and the way they have handled this issue of sexual harassment has shown the complete double standards that are evident. Nidhi Bisht who claimed the blog to be ‘false statement’ changed her stand when other women also came forward about the issue. The female comedian who is one of the core members of TVF said that it is a grave issue which has left her appalled as well. Whether an actual investigation is conducted and the guilty is punished something that only time will tell.