As India’s #MeToo movement continues to see women calling out the men who have sexually harassed them, marketing consultant Suhel Seth was accused by at least four women of predatory behaviour. While two took to Twitter to call him out, one of them anonymously sent a message to another Twitter user and the fourth person spoke to The Indian Express on the condition of anonymity.
Almost 24 hours later, the usually vocal Seth is silent, even though two women have put their own names behind the allegations.
A film director and creative producer said on Twitter on Wednesday that Seth took her to his Gurugram home on the pretext of taking her to Janpath for an ice cream. The woman put out screenshots of messages recounting the incident that she appeared to have sent Seth.
She said that she had been asked by her boss to “say hi” to Seth and that after a few drinks, despite her hesitation and refusal, Seth forced her to accompany him to Janpath for ice-cream. She alleged that when she realised that Seth had actually taken her to his home instead of Janpath, she had no choice but to go in because it was late at night.
Seth allegedly offered her another drink, which she first refused but then accepted on his insistence, after which he tried to kiss her. “I whacked your head and said “behave yourself” You put your hand into my kurta.” She says Seth then went on to touch her breast when she whacked his hand and pulled it away.
“Thank you for not raping me that night. Thank you for sending your driver to drop me home,” the woman said, describing her ordeal.
A journalist said on Wednesday she had also been “harassed and humiliated” by Seth in 2011, when she was 26 years old.
She said she was at an event at Goa’s Taj Aguada hotel when she got into a conversation with Seth.
“Suhel kept describing the “cottage suite” he was in, and telling me to come check it out after dinner. I distinctly remember he said something about a jacuzzi. Anyway, I was well aware of Suhel’s reputation, so I was on the alert, and I declined his sleazy invitation,” the woman said, describing the situation.
“I finished my drink and was saying bye to the people in that group, when Suhel reached out—I figured for a quick hug—and planted a big, sloppy kiss on my mouth, I felt his tongue inside my mouth. I was so stunned and I said something like Suhel, you can’t do that,” she said.
This woman said she had just quit her job at The Indian Express at the time. The newspaper has carried her account in an article about the allegations against Seth.
The newspaper also carried the anonymous account of a woman who recounted her experience with Seth at a restaurant in Mumbai last year. She said that he knew her father and was nice to her in the beginning. “The conversation soon shifted to sex and online dating. Then he put his arm around my waist, which was uncomfortable. He messaged me about his Mumbai plans a few days later and kept inviting me to his room…I didn’t go, it sounded fishy,” she said.
The first account of Seth’s predatory behaviour was put out by a Twitter user, whose friend described the incident to her. The Twitter user shared screenshots of the conversation with her friend on 9 October.
The woman alleged that Seth asked her to join him in his room for drinks in 2009 when she was just 17 years old.
She said the odd messages from him came because she had seen him at Mumbai’s Taj Lands End and because she was a fan, sent him a direct message to tell him that while she wanted to say hi, she didn’t because she was shy.
Seth replied that she should have spoken to him and later asked her to come to his room. “I did not respond to his message and he kept messaging me to join. And wrote “big wild kiss” at the end of the last message after which I blocked him.”
Seth, who has 4.85 million followers on Twitter, was active on Twitter even after the first accusation came out. He has not made a statement or responded to any of the allegations.