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'Broken by sexual harassment charge', TVF's Arunabh Kumar steps down as CEO

Says he is really broken by the blemish that the case has brought on the TVF brand's true promise

Alnoor Peermohamed  |  Bengaluru 

Arunabh Kumar
Arunabh Kumar

Arunabh Kumar, founder of the Tiger Global-backed online media startup (TVF), has stepped down as the chief executive of the company saying the allegations of sexual harassment against him were hurting the company.

"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 of TVF," Kumar said in a statement released on his Twitter handle on Friday.

Kumar added that Dhawal Gusain, who had been working at TVF for two years, would take over as CEO, while he would continue as a mentor to the content team.

The Mumbai Police had on March 29 registered a case of sexual harassment against Kumar on the basis of a complaint filed by a former female employee. Kumar had obtained an anticipatory bail soon after, on the condition that he would remain available whenever called by the police.

Following this, another case of sexual harassment was filed in Mumbai against Kumar.

Kumar's alleged harassment of women at the workplace had first come to light when an anonymous post on blogging platform Medium, written by a female former employee going by the pseudonym Indian Fowler, claimed she had been molested by Kumar. The post saw widespread outrage on social media, especially after TVF's initial response of threatening the writer of the blog.

"We made a grave mistake by responding instinctively in our first official response. While no amount of apologies can undo the mistake, I would like to once again apologise from the bottom of our hearts for letting you all down," Kumar said in his statement on Friday.

The Indian Fowler's blog post had come soon after Susan Fowler, a former employee of Uber, listed out complaints accusing the ride-hailing firm of building a culture that encouraged sexual harassment against women. did an independent investigation and fired 20 employees after finding there were no policies to keep a check on such violations.

Earlier this week, Founder stepped down temporarily as the after a board meeting following the publication of the investigation report. Kalanick and two senior executives now face a lawsuit by a rape victim in India for violating her privacy by illegally securing her health records.

First Published: Sat, June 17 2017. 00:41 IST