Whitehat Jr Files Rs 20 Crore Defamation Case Against Engineer Who Exposed Their Lies
The founder of coding platform WhiteHat Jr, Karan Bajaj has filed a defamation case against Pradeep Poonia, an engineer who publicly criticized the platform.
Lawsuit Against Pradeep Poonia
Mr Poonia has publicly criticized the firm about its marketing tactics, the quality of the courses on the platform, and especially aggressive takedowns of such feedback.
Here Mr Bajaj is an Indian entrepreneur, teaches meditation and according to his recent book invites others to live a life away from the noise.
WhiteHat Jr is a kids centric platform for the population mostly living in America.
Its one-to-one classes have witnessed more than 90% surge in demand this year, as per the information provided by the startup.
According to the lawsuit, Mr. Bajaj is seeking $2.6 million in damages.
Accusations On Pradeep Poonia
Mr. Poonia has been accused of infringing trademarks and copyright of properties owned by WhiteHat Jr.
Further he has been accused of defaming and spreading misleading information about the startup and its founder, and accessing the company’s private communications app.
In addition to that, the lawsuit also accuses of publicly sharing phone numbers of WhiteHat Jr employees and making strong accusations such as likening the startup’s marketing tactics to “child sexual abuse.”
According to the layers, Mr Poonia recorded sessions of some classes conducted by WhiteHat Jr.
He asked questions not relevant to the course, to “humiliate and harass” the teachers and then posted them online, the lawsuit mentioned.
The suit says, “As some of the one-on-one communications between the Plaintiffs’ teachers and the Defendant have demonstrated, the former have felt extremely threatened and harassed by the Defendant which is even more pertinent given that the Plaintiffs’ entire workforce of 11,000 teachers is female,”.
The suit mentioned that the Defendant’s activities have critically affected the Plaintiffs.
WhiteHat Jr Aggressively Used Copyright
So far, the Byju’s owned startup has aggressively used copyright protection to take down numerous unflattering feedback about the startup in recent months, according to the internal posts of a Slack channel of WhiteHat Jr shared by Poonia.
The lawsuit also raises concern about Poonia accusing WhiteHat Jr of “murdering” an imaginary kid that featured in one of its earlier ads.
According to the WhiteHat Jr advertisement, a 12-year-old child named “Wolf Gupta” landed a lucrative job at Google.
The lawyers of Bajaj clarified in the suit that the kid does not exist.
Interestingly, the same point was raised by Mr Poonia in his tweets, who spent a long time trying to unearth more information about this supposed poster child of WhiteHat Jr.
The court has directed Mr. Poonia to take down tweets which have unsubstantiated claims regarding White Hat Jr.
So far, Mr. Poonia has been an open critic of the edtech startup’s promises and its workplace ethics, over various social media platforms including LinkedIn, YouTube and now, Twitter.
The court has recognised that the defendant has the right to criticise the platform but they also agree that “some lines have been crossed” in the process.
According to the judge Mukta Gupta, there are enough arguments on both sides on children being taught coding is a good idea or whether the business model is an “EMI trap”, as accused by Poonia.
For Poonia, the tougher challenge will be to prove that there was no ‘hacking’ involved as Poonias’ lawyer argued that there was no hacking and of White Hat Jr employees contacted Poonia to share the details.
Meanwhile, Mr Poonia thanked all of his supporters saying – Let’s continue to fight for transparent and ethical biz practices.