More skeletons are tumbling out of the closet of media and entertainment industry over allegations of workplace sexual harassment. Yesterday, a journalist named Rakumini Sen has come out with allegations that India Today group CEO Arun Poorie and vice chairman Kalie Poorie did not take any action on her complaint of workplace sexual harassment.
Sen has shared a Facebook post detailing the neglect and inaction her complaint was dealt with within the media house. She has stated that her case was from 2012-13 and in the six years that have passed, her case is yet to see any substantial step taken with regards to her complaint.
Rukmini Sen has stated that after she had lodged a complaint against her then male boss Supriya Prasad in 2012, it took the legal and HR cell of India Today a year and a half to reply to her that the male boss was innocent because she had known him before. Sen further alleges that despite her complaint, the committee that was formed to inquire over her complaint did not have the mandatory external member who is required to be a legal or women’s rights expert. She has added that for this reason, she had refused to present her case because the internal committee would have been biased.
Sen admits in the post that the nature of the sexual harassment she faced was not physical but verbal. She says that Supriya prasad had used the worst kind of verbal and sexist insult for her. She adds that it is all a part of rape culture, sexist jokes, sexist insults, outbursts and sexist sidelining of women professionals at the workplace which are unacceptable and comes under serious harassment because it harms the well being of many female professionals like her. She says that She also admits that she had not filed a police complaint or went to court because she was busy taking care of her ailing father at that time.
Sen furthers that she had left India Today group in 2013 and has worked in several other media houses after that. She also claims that the sexual harassment committee in India Today group was formed because of her complaint. Sen has alleged that Supriya Prasad, the person who had harassed her verbally is a repeat offender and she knows of one employee of India Today whom Prasad had forcibly kissed. She claims that Prasad had been asked to resign at that time. She has also alleged that many of her former colleagues and mentors, despite being aware of the kind of behaviour she was subjected to from Prasad, chose to ignore and engage with Prasad on a professional and personal level.
Rukmini Sen has stated that Arun Poorie and Kalie Poorie are complicit with playing with the well being of female employees working for them. She has also added that there is no point of holding the India Today conclave every year discussing violence against women while the group itself has failed to identify workplace sexual harassment as a systemic violence.
Sen has also stated that if any woman professional who has been sexually harassed by Supriya Prasad wants to take legal action and needs her to testify, she will fully co-operate.
It is notable here that many senior professionals in the media and entertainment industries have been accused of workplace sexual harassment in the last few days after the allegations against All India Bakchod’s Utsav Mukherjee first broke out. A large number of women have been coming out with their experiences of harassment neglect by their colleagues and senior professionals towards serious allegations of sexual harassment.
So far many names from prominent media houses like The Times group, and portals like The Wire and The Quint have been accused of workplace sexual harassment. Several people from the entertainment industry including director Vikas Behl, stand up artists and many others have also been accused of sexually harassing women at their workplace.