The Managing Director of Sothebys India, Gaurav Bhatia, has proceeded on leave after a series of sexual harassment allegations against him on social media. A statement by the auction house Friday said Bhatia has taken a "leave of absence" pending a probe into the allegations.
"In light of recent anonymous allegations that have surfaced on social media, Gaurav Bhatia has agreed to take a leave of absence while a formal inquiry continues," the statement said. "Harassment of any type has no place at Sothebys and we will thoroughly investigate these allegations with Gauravs full cooperation," it said.
According to complaints posted on Instagram, Bhatia touched the 'victims' inappropriately and forcibly trying to kiss them. Bhatia, who has been with Sotheby's since 2016, has worked with the luxury brand LVMH for over a decade before joining the auction house. The development comes at a crucial time for Sotheby's, which is slated to conduct its maiden art auction here next week.
A company website says Bhatia heads the south Asia operation and calls him as the "driving force" behind the inaugural auction in Mumbai. The company statement said its employees under the leadership of Edward Gibbs, the chairman for Middle East and India, and Yamini Mehta, international head of Indian and South Asian Art, are "fully focused" on the auction.