A former employee of Star India has accused sexual harassment during her stint at the company, where the management insisted to sexually favour `influential clients’ to meet their `targets of business.’ The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were “clear instructions” given to make the sales team fulfil the targets in case they want to continue with their employment contract, “for which even if you have to take the clients to a hotel room and sleep with them for days.”
She said there were many instances when she and three of her female colleagues (interns) had clear instructions to reach a hotel after office hours for a private party hosted for influential friends.
She says the influential friends were “mostly bureaucrats and sometimes politicians and foreign nationals” who were “all ready to violate you, force you to dance against your wishes, drink with them, make drink(s) for them, exchange your numbers and even quietly accompany them to their respective rooms if they want you to”.
However, the accuser, who tweeted through handle @ApurvaS17 — saying she would remain anonymous — had made sexual harassment allegations against the company’s officials in an open letter. The Internal Complaints Committee of Star India on Sexual Harassment (Star ICC) has written to the anonymous accuser, asking her to reach out to the committee or its external member on allegations made by her in tweets.
In a Twitter post, Star ICC said it had reached out to the accuser through two emails on the ID provided by her through her tweets. The committee’s external member is Veena Gowda, a Mumbai-based woman rights lawyer. Asked to comment on the allegations, a Star India spokesperson said in a statement that despite no response by the anonymous accuser to the messages sent, the Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy” in respect of the allegations.
The accuser in her tweets had said that the #MeToo movement had encouraged her to come forward and that she had quit her job at Star India in the Airtime Sales section after 26 months and nine days and was now a homemaker, “taking care of my baby and hubby in a beautiful country, far away from Mumbai.”