#MeToo: Contestant of Comedy Central India show alleges executives harassed her at wrap party; company refers case to IC

Stand-up comedian Snigdha Jain tweeted an allegation of harassment against senior executives associated with the Comedy Central show, Project Comedy, on 6 November 2019.

FP Staff November 06, 2019 20:42:37 IST
#MeToo: Contestant of Comedy Central India show alleges executives harassed her at wrap party; company refers case to IC

Stand-up comedian Snigdha Jain came forward with an allegation of sexual harassment against senior executives associated with the Comedy Central India show, Project Comedy, on 6 November 2019. In a post shared on Twitter, Jain alleged that Comedy Project's creative director Nishchint Sohal and Shelraj Patel, senior supervising producer with Viacom18 (which owns Comedy Central), had behaved inappropriately with her at the show's wrap-up party two months ago.

Jain wrote that the executives' behaviour turned the after-party into "an uncomfortable space" where she felt "harassed emotionally and physically".

Jain detailed two instances — both of which occurred during the 6 September wrap — in her tweeted allegation.

In the first, she accused Sohal — with whom she had "never shared any kind of personal space" — of suddenly sitting on her lap in the midst of a conversation. She says she froze at the violation of her space, and was rescued by another contestant who sensed her discomfort.

In the second incident, Jain says she was leaving the party with her partner, when Patel tried to dissuade her from making an exit. Jain writes that Patel insisted she stay despite her offering reasons for needing to leave. When that didn't work, Jain alleges that Patel loudly speculated on her sexual activity, making suggestive gestures to insinuate that's why Jain and her partner were leaving the party.

Jain said that she would be unable to participate in the finale shoot for Comedy Project as long as Sohal and Patel were still associated with the show. She added that she hoped the duo could be "rehabilitated/counselled" for their behaviour.

Viacom18 issued a statement in light of Jain's allegations. The statement read:

"At Viacom18, we have always striven to ensure a respectful and safe workplace for everyone. Any allegations are investigated and appropriate action is taken immediately. This matter has already been taken up for investigation by the internal committee (IC), set up as per law. Any such behaviour is against our code of conduct and appropriate action will be taken as soon as the enquiry is completed."

***

Viacom 18 is a part of TV 18 Broadcast Ltd, which belongs to Network 18, the parent company of Firstpost. Firstpost has received complaints of sexual harassment as well. The complaints which are within the purview of the workplace have been forwarded to our PoSH committee for appropriate action.

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