Arunabh Kumar, CEO and founder, The Viral Fever, booked for allegedly sexually harassing a former employee of his firm, has stepped down. Kumar announced his decision on Twitter on Friday evening. Dhawal Gusain has been appointed as the new CEO of TVF.
Kumar was booked under Sections 354 and 509 of IPC on the charges of molestation and outraging the modesty of a woman.
In a statement he shared on the social media platform, 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.”
It deserves mention here that after Kumar was accused of sexual misconduct in an anonymous open letter, social media users had called for a boycott of TVF.
In the first official statement released by TVF in response to the anonymous letter, the company had denied all the accusations and said that it “will leave no stone unturned” to find the author and “bring them to severe justice” for making false allegations. Needless to say that this statement received severe flak across social media channels for being unempathetic in its tone and for not taking the responsibility of setting up an unbiased investigation. The branding experts that exchange4media spoke with said that a vague, badly framed, clumsy response to an issue as serious as an allegation of sexual harassment can harm any brand’s image.
Harish Bijoor, brand-expert and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults, said that a brand should not only be beyond reproach, but must also appear to be beyond reproach. “Whether such an allegation is true or not, the allegation by itself can rattle the brand,” he said.