#MeToo: TV journalist Gaurav Sawant accused of sexual harassment
TV journalist Gaurav Sawant has been accused of sexual harassment by a fellow journalist of sexually harassing her 15 years ago. Vidya Krishnan has accused Mr. Sawant of molesting her during an assignment and also exposing himself to her in a hotel room.
According to a report by The Caravan, Krishnan alleged that it was during her time with The Pioneer when the incident had allegedly taken place.
She narrated that she was a newcomer at The Pioneer and was sent on her first outstation assignment at a military base in Beas, Punjab. Mr. Sawant, who was already a popular defence correspondent by then, was also at the same peace meet.
Krishnan, a former health editor at The Hindu, further narrated that she along with several other journalists were travelling in a vehicle when Sawant, who was sitting behind, allegedly placed his hand on her shoulder and then steadily moved towards her breast.
“My body was frozen still”. I didn’t feel secure enough to tell anybody and say, ‘This is happening, make it stop.’ I didn’t have the confidence to say anything,” said Krishnan. She didn’t react immediately then only to see the abuse reach a different level by the evening.
Sometime after returning from the army base, Krishnan found Sawant at her hotel room door. She alleged that her male counterpart forced himself into the room and unzipped his pants. He wanted to get into the bathtub with her.
“I felt like he was overpowering me, which is why in my panic I started screaming,” she further narrated. Finally, with her voice getting louder Sawant finally moved back.
Krishnan stopped herself from complaining incident to the management at The Pioneer and was also reluctant to inform it to the editor Chandan Mitra, a former Rajya Sabha member of parliament. She was scared by “how far down the food chain she was” she narrated reports NDTV.
The article published by Caravan is irresponsible, baseless, and completely false. I am talking to my lawyers and will take full legal action. So grateful to my family, friends, and viewers for their support.
— GAURAV C SAWANT (@gauravcsawant) November 12, 2018
Sawant, now an Executive Editor with India Today, however, refuted all such allegations and called it baseless. He tweeted, that “the article published by Caravan is irresponsible, baseless, and completely false”. “I’m talking to my lawyers and will take full legal action. So grateful to my family, friends, and viewers for their support.”
News website NDTV also reported Sawant’s employer India Today as saying that “The article is distressing to read. Unfortunately, we are in no position to comment on it or investigate the matter since Gaurav Sawant was not employed with us in 2003. Nevertheless, Mr. Sawant has been asked to provide an explanation. Besides dismissing the allegations entirely, he has informed us that he is consulting lawyers to seek legal remedy.”
Krishnan’s sexual harassment allegations come on the back of a serious #MeToo campaign that has swept across the country. Former Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta had alleged veteran actor Nana Patekar of molesting and sexually harassing her in 2008 during the shooting of a film.