A Judge Has Ordered Facebook to Reveal the Anonymous Instagrammer Who Made #MeToo Allegations Against Artist Subodh Gupta

The artist is also pursuing a defamation lawsuit against the account holder.

Subodh Gupta. Photo by Lionel Bonacenture/AFP/Getty Images.
Subodh Gupta. Photo by Lionel Bonacenture/AFP/Getty Images.

A judge in India has ordered Facebook to reveal the owner of the anonymous Instagram account Scene and Herd (@herdsceneand), known for making public accusations of inappropriate sexual conduct against high-profile men in the Indian art world.

Judge Rajiv Sahai Endlaw of the high court in Dehli has also directed Google to take down search results related to the Instagram account’s allegations of sexual harassment against Indian artist Subodh Gupta, who has filed a defamation lawsuit over the accusations seeking damages of 5 million rupees ($70,000).

The sculptor, perhaps Indian’s best-known contemporary artist, is known for working with kitchen ware and other everyday objects. After the #MeToo-inspired Instagram account posted in December that Gupta was a “serial sexual harasser,” he was forced to step down as guest curator of the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa, India. A second allegation against him was published by the account this past January.

The anonymous accusations, which Gupta has denied vigorously, were corroborated last December by art writer Rosalyn D’mello, a former employee at Nature Morte, the artist’s New Delhi gallery.

 

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A post shared by Scene and Herd (@herdsceneand) on

“I want to state that the post pertaining to Subodh is not ‘made up’ or isn’t ‘revenge’ or isn’t ‘attention-seeking,’” she said last year. “They are true.”

Gupta is also represented by Hauser & Wirth in the US and Galleria Continua in Italy. None of the galleries have responded to artnet News’s requests for comment.

Judge Endlaw made his decision based on the fact that no legal action had been taken against Gupta based on any of the claims, according to Indian media outlet News18.

“The allegations, as made in the allegedly defamatory contents, cannot be permitted to be made in [the] public domain/published without being backed by legal recourse,” Judge Endlaw wrote in his injunction. The order was made ex-parte, which means it was granted without comment from the holder of the Instagram account.

Facebook is ordered to remove the posts about Gupta and identify the account’s administrator “in a sealed envelope” by the next court date, which is scheduled for November 18. Judge Endlaw has also prohibited any additional posts about Gupta from being published by the account before that date. The court documents listed 18 news articles about the story that are to be blocked by Google, including artnet News’s coverage of the controversy.

The Instagram account has not shared any new allegations since February 9, although two posts on May 19 and August 29 assured followers that “we are still listening” and “it might seem quiet, but do not think for a second that our work is done and we’ve moved on.”


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