ScoopWhoop Media Private Limited, India’s leading media company, has had a difficult few months. While the departure of Samdish Bhatia, the host of ScoopWhoop’s Unscripted, came as a surprise, Sattvik Mishra, the firm’s CEO, stepped down months later. Sattvik cited mental harassment and threats from an ex-colleague as reasons for resigning as CEO.
Now, on February 8, Samdish has made his official statement public. Bhatia has accused Sattvik Mishra of sexual assault in a social media post. He also claimed that he was offered large sums of money to dummy up and get over it and that people at ScoopWhoop told him that any misunderstanding could be resolved and that he should return to the “chirpy-chirpy Samdish” state.
Samdish, on the other hand, declined to go into detail about the assault, citing the ramifications of the aftermath as the reason. He described it all as slander and harassment directed at him and his lawyer. Samdish had spoken his final goodbyes to ScoopWhoop in October 2021, without explaining why. Months later, he resorted to social media to claim that his resignation was due to an alleged ‘assault’ by a senior employee.
Now, he has accused Sattvik Mishra of sexual harassment. Following Sattvik’s resignation, Rishi Pratim Mukherjee, COO and co-founder of ScoopWhoop, was appointed as interim CEO.
According to Bhatia, the incident occurred in October of last year, and he filed a complaint with the company’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) within days of the alleged sexual assault.
Mishra has disputed the allegations and accused Bhatia of creating the narrative in order to extract Rs. 7 crores from him. Bhatia has rejected this and made counter-claims that he was offered hush money to bury his complaint by someone advocating on Mishra’s behalf.
Last month, Bhatia posted on Instagram on January 14 that he had been assaulted while working there.
This is not the first time
In April 2017, a former ScoopWhoop employee filed an FIR alleging sexual harassment against another co-founder Suparn Pandey. The ex-employee filed a case at the Vasant Kunj police station in south Delhi, alleging many incidences of sexual misconduct, including Pandey’s touching her inappropriately and sending her sexually suggestive films. The complainant further claimed that her requests to the office management were ignored.
Bhatia, the anchor and host of ScoopWhoop Unscripted, accused Mishra of sexual assault in October 2021, just as ScoopWhoop got acquired by (Good Glamm Group) GGG.
The alleged assault occurred immediately following a meeting in which Mishra and Bhatia were reported to be discussing the latter’s equity share in the ScoopWhoop for Unscripted, which was not going to be part of the agreement with GGG, Due to FDI regulations. Although, the company’s formal release makes no mention of this.
According to sources, Bhatia, who is considered as the face of Unscripted by its audience, was supposed to be allocated shares in the company. He had requested a 25% equity stake in the new company but was only given 7.5 per cent.
According to Newslaundry, Avlok Langer, the company’s creative director for non-fiction media, was also present at the meeting, which took place in a pub in Delhi. The trio is believed to have consumed a significant amount of alcohol during the meeting, and after the last call at the pub, Langer left the group to return home, while Mishra and Bhatia continued drinking at Mishra’s apartment.
Bhatia has admitted to being drunk on that night and claims that Mishra was also drunk. Mishra, in a text to Bhatia over WhatsApp, admitted to mixing antidepressants and booze on October 10, 2021.
This WhatsApp text was an apology by Mishra two days after that night.
The sexual assault, according to Bhatia, occurred at this location. Despite the fact that his wife, Tikekar was upstairs with their child, he claims Mishra made unwanted sexual approaches and was claimed to be undressed while attempting to force himself on Bhatia. According to the alleged victim, Mishra attempted to extort sexual favours from Bhatia in consideration for a larger stake in the new firm that would be responsible for Unscripted.
According to Newslaundry, ScoopWhoop entered the legal conflict in January 2022. Days after Bhatia’s first Instagram post, WhoopScoop Media Private Limited, a subsidiary of ScoopWhoop, filed a motion in court seeking a permanent and temporary injunction to prevent Bhatia’s allegations from becoming public. It claimed that the “conflict” between Bhatia and Mishra was before a “Grievance Committee,” and that making the allegations public would harm ScoopWhoop’s reputation and goodwill.
On January 19, WhoopScoop filed a civil suit at Patiala House court, demanding injunctions against Bhatia and Mishra, asserting that if the sexual harassment charges became public, Scoopwhoop’s reputation would suffer. At the first hearing on January 22, 2022, the Patiala House court denied the injunction. The investigation is still ongoing.
Good Glamm Group to conduct an independent investigation
The Good Glamm Group, previously known as MyGlamm has announced that it will conduct an independent investigation into allegations of sexual assault levelled against Sattvik Mishra, the former co-founder and CEO of ScoopWhoop.
According to BusinessToday, Good Glamm Group stated it will initiate an independent investigation into the incident, which will be handled by law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, in light of recent acquisitions on ScoopWhoop Media.
The statement also confirmed that ScoopWhoop’s current CEO, Rishi Pratim Mukherjee has been replaced by Priyanka Gill, co-founder of the Good Glamm Group.