Writer-lyricist Varun Grover has penned an open letter in response to an anonymous allegation of sexual harassment against him on Twitter, saying there is an “earnest need” from his side to prove his innocence as he wants closure.
Grover, who has been a vocal supporter of #MeToo movement, said the allegation against him has not only affected his mental health and professional life but also his ability to take a social stand.
“Revolutions are beautiful. They are cathartic, powerful, necessary, and like #metoo – inevitable. And revolutions, inevitably, have some collateral damage too,” Grover said in a post on Medium, which he shared on Tuesday.
“…Am I angry? Yes. Is my mental health in shambles? Yes. Do I occasionally feel like a victim of an agenda? Yes. And would I still say ‘Believe All Women’? Yes. But please bring in the checks to differentiate it from ‘Believe All Screenshots’. Revolutions can be messy but they can’t be perceived as unjust.”
The “Sacred Games” writer said it had been a traumatic week for him but he is confident that he can prove the anonymous allegation against him to be false.
Grover said he understands that the movement is bigger and more important than him but his “isolated small” case affects him, his family and friends in a big way.
“It affects not just my mental health and professional life but my ability to take a social stand on every injustice I want to speak about.
“And therefore, I feel this earnest need to present my side even though no formal complaint has been filed against me. This closure is needed to maintain my own sanity,” he added.
Grover said there has been no inquiry into his case despite his willingness. He said it has been hurtful to find being framed as a sexual assaulter and be bundled with other prominent names by the media.
The allegation, an anonymous screenshot, claimed that Grover sexually harassed his junior while he was in college in Varanasi. The screenshot, which was later deleted, claimed that it happened during the production of a mythological play.
The lyricist had categorically denied the allegation in a point-by-point rebuttal earlier and in his latest blog, he presented new facts to counter the claim.
He said the female strength of his juniors from batch 2000-2004 and 2001 to 2005 was a total of 36 and out of which his theatre group worked with only four women, who personally reached out to him after the news broke to express their solidarity with him.
Grover said the women further extended their support by reaching out to the rest of the 32 female students and received confirmation from each one of them that “such an incident did not happen.”
“These confirmations can be verified by any independent inquiry,” he added.
Grover said he fully supports anonymous #MeToo accounts and none of them should be stopped from being published but once fact-based, counter-claims are made by the accused, the movement “can perhaps make space for the intent to verify them”.
“Further, if the allegations are found untrue, the movement can announce them to be considered removed or at the very least the account can be labelled as ‘pending verification’, till the contested claims are checked,” he said.
According to Grover, despite his requests for carrying out these basic checks on social media, there has been a silence, which has left him “in a constant state of mental trauma and anguish”.
Grover said he has been advised to take the legal route to force a solution but he would not go that way out of his respect for the movement and the brave women speaking out.