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Hey, corner office frog, keep that sticky tongue to yourself

In a corner office with a view sits a loathsome frog, his tongue intermittently darting at all the little file-toting flies. This frog is not interested in turning into a prince — he already believes he is one — and stares bug-eyed at the flies, his toys or his employees whatever moniker fits them best in his mind.

Some of the big frogs caught in a net in recent times are Phaneesh Murthy who had to resign from Infosys after his secretary Reka Maximovitch accused him of sexual harassment, Tarun Tejpal who created a Tehelka with his elevator antics and a man whose picture I had framed and displayed when my son shared a stage with him, RK Pachauri, then director general of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), who was later accused of sexually harassing a researcher at the organisation.

A few days ago another big frog was added to the list and came in for some virtual dissection — The Viral Fever CEO Arunabh Kumar who is now making people’s temperatures rise as shown in Subscription Management Video a way he probably never expected.His innocence or guilt will be revealed with time but a single comment attributed to him, ‘I am a heterosexual single man and when I find a woman sexy, I tell her she is sexy. I compliment women, is that wrong?’ doesn’t just make alarm bells ring but is more akin to the hooting of the siren on top of a politician’s car that speeds through traffic lights and pushes its way through crammed spaces, declaring that here is a privileged someone who believes that the rules are meant for everyone else.

By calling a woman ‘sexy’ in a working environment, you are undermining everything she has worked for, the stereotypes she has had to break, the pride she takes in her abilities, and the inevitable guilt that she feels about not being home with her children, just to be there in that office, trying to make her place in the world.

 

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