This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Abhishek Jha. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Ex-Employee Stories Show How TVF’s Claims Of Workplace Safety May Be Untrue

In a Medium post dated March 12, a user with the pseudonym ‘Indian Fowler’, claiming to be a former employee of The Viral Fever, one of India’s leading online video creators, alleged widespread sexual harassment at the workplace. The user also alleged sexual harassment specifically by Arunabh Kumar, the Founder of TVF. She alleged that on the 21st day of her employment Kumar asked her to “role play” and held her hand. She further said that Kumar asked her to do a “quicky (sic)” on another occasion and that the harassment was routine, adding that her bosses ignored the complaint when she complained to them.

The Viral Fever in a statement made below the blog post, as well as in an email to YKA, claimed that the allegations are “categorically false, baseless and unverified”. “We take a lot of pride in our team and in making TVF a safe workplace that is equally comfortable for women and men. We will leave no stone unturned to find the author of the article and bring them to severe justice for making such false allegations,” the statement read.

YKA has also contacted the person who wrote the blog post. This article will be updated in case there is a response.

No Internal Complaints Committee?

To verify TVF’s claims, YKA wrote three emails to TVF asking whether they have a sexual harassment policy and an internal complaints committee (ICC) as mandated by the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. YKA also asked TVF to specify the date on which any such internal complaints committee was notified and whether they have any proof of employees being informed about this.

One email received from TVF in response quoted the aforementioned statement. Aditi Singh, a spokesperson for TVF, responded to another email and said, “TVF complies with all applicable labour laws, takes sexual harassment complaints very seriously and processes the same in accordance with the law. We have an in-house HR department and legal department supported by a panel of top external law firms”. Singh didn’t respond to the next email again asking specifically about the ICC and intimation to employees about the same.

Another former employee of Contagious Online Media Network Private Limited, which owns TVF, and who worked as a consultant at the Delhi offices of TVF until recently, told YKA that TVF informed its employees about the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act, but only in November, 2016. This employee also shared an email dated November 2, where people were invited for a meeting on Google Hangouts on November 3 between 1 and 2 pm. She claimed that this was the first instance of any such meeting since she started working in October 2015.

Other Instances Of Harassment

This former employee too faced sexual harassment at TVF’s offices in Delhi . On the night of October 8, when Tripling, a video series by TVF, was screened at their Delhi offices, she alleged that a cake spiked with marijuana was shared with team members without informing them that the cake had the drug. When the employee went to a washroom, she was locked in a room by a male employee and prevented from going outside. This male employee also made sexually suggestive remarks against her when she managed to get out.

TVF did deal with this employee’s complaint (copies of which are with YKA). However, it wasn’t through an Internal Complaints Committee. She was asked to file a written complaint, after which she wrote an email to Deep Mody, purportedly an HR manager. The survivor claimed that it was only after she complained on October 18, and wrote a resignation letter to the company on November 2, which TVF declined to accept, that the Google Hangouts call was arranged. “The channel head (of the Delhi offices) himself, when I gave my resignation, said, ‘Itni bhi koi badi baat nahi hai’ (this is not a big issue),’” the survivor told YKA.

Even in the November 3 online meeting, the survivor didn’t recall employees being told about any presiding officer of any internal complaints committee. She said that they were told about an email id on which people could register complaints and that they were made aware of the laws. However, when asked whether employees were informed about any chairperson or presiding officer, the survivor told YKA, “No, not (any) such (thing). We were only told that Deep was supposed to be, like Deep was I think the head HR, so he was handling the matters. I was directly interacting with him.” 

The survivor also told YKA that TVF held a meeting on October 29 where both the accused employee and she were interviewed. The persons taking testimonies surprisingly also included Akansh Gaur, the channel head of the Delhi offices. This is despite allegations made against Gaur too in the email complaint dated October 18.

Three options were given to her in the meeting – of filing an FIR, of the accused being fired, or of talking it out with the accused. “At that point of time I said I don’t want to speak to him. I don’t want to lodge an FIR. I just don’t want to work with him on the same premises,” the survivor told YKA. However, no action was taken immediately after this hearing. Two witnesses, who had seen the survivor run out of the room on October 8, too spoke to the people dealing with the complaint in December, the survivor said. However, action was taken only in January after the survivor told her employers that she will have to go ahead with an FIR. The accused employee was then fired on January 5.

Will TVF Fix This?

However, the alleged lack of a system in place to deal with sexual harassment means that other kinds of harassment that the employee had alleged may not get dealt with in future unless structured mechanisms are put in place by the organisation. The survivor, for instance, had also alleged in her email complaint dated October 18 that Akansh Gaur, the channel head of TVF’s Delhi offices, makes sexually suggestive conversation at the workplace.

The complaint alleged that Gaur suggested hiring “a girl whose only job will be to give blowjobs to everyone” in the workplace. 

However, the resolution received by the complainant, a copy of which YKA has seen, does not state any action taken against Gaur. TVF has also not responded to a question about any action taken against Gaur. Gaur, when contacted, asked YKA to contact him on March 14 (the article will be updated in case Gaur responds).

Other people, claiming to have previously worked with TVF, have also now come out in support of the person who alleged sexual harassment in the blog post. They also claim sexual harassment by Arunabh Kumar.

Note: If you have been sexually harassed at The Viral Fever, you can drop us an email at Your identity will be kept confidential.

You must be to comment.

More from Abhishek Jha

Similar Posts

By Sumit

By Jaimine

By Tanuj Samaddar

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below