National University of Singapore has discontinued all projects with Talk show host and former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP), Viswa Sadasivan and he has also stepped down as a member of the university’s Alumni Advisory Board. This following allegations of sexual harassment made against him by two women.
This was said by the NUS in an email to its alumnus on Saturday (20 Feb) evening that it has reached a mutual agreement with Mr Sadasivan and his company, Strategic Moves Pte Ltd to discontinue all projects with NUS.
Mr Sadasivan has also stepped down as a member of NUS Alumni Advisory Board.
NUS said that it does not condone any behaviour or action that is disrespectful and disparaging of individuals, regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion or age.
It clarified that the incident between Mr Sadasivan and Ms Channa took place during the online interview series, Inconvenient Questions. This series is a collaboration between Strategic Moves Pte Ltd and the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS), a graduate club and registered society which is a separate and independent entity from the University.
For those unaware, the controversy erupted when Ms Channa made a Facebook post on 4 Feb about how Mr Sadasivan, who is the host of the National University of Singapore Society’s (NUSS) Inconvenient Questions (IQ) web series made sexual innuendos directed at her during an interview.
As recounted by Ms Channa, Mr Sadasivan had asked her why she was wearing a rose on her left collar, to which she replied, “I just put it on to distract from the pattern on my top and to which he responded “It would be more distracting if you were wearing only that rose.”
Since Ms Channa’s revelations on Facebook, Ms Kiran Kandade has also stepped up to reveal her own experiences with Mr Sadasivan, showing screenshots of when, among other things, he had asked for a kiss from her when she was trying to seek training/consultancy work from him.
While Mr Sadasivan has issued an apology, his apology has been criticised as being conditional and “not unequivocal” by AWARE in its follow up statement. AWARE did, however, acknowledge that Mr Sadasivan did call on the online abuse of the women to stop.
In addition, AWARE has made clear that they were not working with Mr Sadasivan on this issue. While they were privately approached by Mr Sadasivan with an offer to host a series of Inconvenient Questions forums on sexual harassment, AWARE later found that he has mentioned this proposal to others as well.
AWARE further stressed that it did not think that these incidents should be turned into content for Mr Sadasivan’s programme and called on him to make an unreserved apology to the women.
“Until Viswa takes full responsibility for his actions and makes an unreserved apology to the two women, it will be difficult to view any offer of collaboration in good faith.”
AWARE also called on Mr Sadasivan to set a good example as a prominent figure by “taking full responsibility for his harassment.”