Startupper Varun Patra and his website Homegrown landed in hot water after a woman came forward, accusing him of sexual misconduct. In an open letter, reportedly posted via a local artist’s social media account, she said that they had sex after a date in November, which he secretly recorded on audio.
“We went to my room and had sex, in the middle of which he felt the need to stick his fingers in my a**. I told him not to do it, and he did it anyway, 3 times… Right after we finished, I saw him stop a recording on his phone”, the anonymous woman revealed, as cited by Rolling Stone India.
She said that the man had admitted to her that she was not the only woman that he had recorded and explained that he had done it to protect himself from false accusations of sexual harassment with the #MeToo movement on the rise in India. Patra confirmed this in a statement to the local branch of Rolling Stone.
“It came from a place of fear and uncertainty of how to navigate sex with somebody who I had not known for very long in the atmosphere of MeToo which I had already been introspecting on a lot. I was extremely anxious and fearful that any sexual activity, irrespective of consent, could be used against me”, he stated, also rejecting allegations by another woman that they had sex without protection.
In wake of the scandal, other women spoke out about the entrepreneur’s behaviour, contradicting his public position in media.
I honestly expected nothing from a man who thinks it's okay to stuff his face in my hair and stub his cigarette on my friend when he's drunk. @VarunPatra, an easy way to "protect" yourself from #MeToo would have been to understand consent. https://t.co/bK6KXeA4BN— Neha Mathews (@Neha_Mathews_) 3 января 2019 г.
Homegrown's co-founder Varun Patra has been accused of sexual harassment. I just read the painful account of the accuser on @artwhoring's Instagram stories. MY BLOOD IS BOILING. Your time's up, pseudo wokeboi. #MeToo #MeTooIndia— Shruti Sunderraman (@sundermanbegins) 3 января 2019 г.
However, others took Patra’s side and even praised his prudence.
This lady is batshit crazy.. I don't find this hard to believe especially the way metoo is heading. I once had my name dragged through the mud by a girl who I didn't even know.. I had to prove she made it up. it's so easy to just accuse nowadays it's sickening— Mark Zin (@Zinner_15) 4 января 2019 г.
Smart man and I can’t blame him.— Feminist Delinquency (@FemDelinquency) 4 января 2019 г.
Here’s hoping he inspires other men, and women think twice about career and life ruining false accusations.
Following the uproar over the allegations of sexual misconduct, he stepped down as the head of marketing. The man explained his decision on Facebook, saying that he was “deeply apologetic” for his actions which “put a really bad light” on his partners and team working on creating a platform with a progressive agenda.