Arunabh Kumar has stepped down as CEO of web entertainment firm The Viral Fever (TVF) barely months after Mumbai police booked him for allegedly causing sexual harassment to unidentified women.
In a statement that he released on Twitter, Mr. Kumar said: “In the wake of the recent personal attacks, what really breaks me is the blemish on the brand’s true promise. I have therefore taken the decision to step down as the CEO of TVF.”
TVF, known for its satirical takes on Indian politics, movies, lifestyle and the social system, on Friday announced the appointment of Dhawal Gusain as the company’s new CEO.
Gusain has been with TVF since 2015 as Chief Operating Officer of the firm. With over a decade of industry experience, he has been in leadership and management roles across various sectors and geographies.
Kumar made headlines first when a female ‘staffer’ under the pseudonym Indian Fowler posted a blog at medium.com, accusing him of sexual advances at the workplace, and his several attempts to exploit her during her tenure between 2014 and 2016.
In the response section, another female employee shared her ordeal at TVF, saying that she “had to face a similar experience while working there. I felt exploited and cheated and I left my job under very bad circumstances”.
TVF had then denied all allegations and said it would “leave no stone unturned to find the author of the article and bring them to severe justice for making such false allegations”.
Indian Fowler posted about few months ago that she first met Arunabh Kumar in a Mumbai cafe in 2014. Since both of them hail from Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, they bonded well and Arunabh hired her in his company. However, in just three weeks, she was allegedly molested by him for the first time, which soon turned into a continuous procedure spanning over two years till she quit the job in 2016. She stated, “Since then it became routine. Right from Pitchers to Tripling, I was molested. Be it in parties where Arunabh would try to lift me or would try and fall on me pretending he is drunk.” She tried complaining to her immediate bosses only to be allegedly ignored by them. They even allegedly used words like ‘hota hai (it happens)’.
Kumar, an IIT graduate, founded TVF in 2011.