The Indian EdTech Platform, WhiteHat Jr, has been in the news ever since CEO Karan Bajaj filed a defamation lawsuit against WhiteHat Snr.’s Pradeep Poonia, who has been a constant critic of the company for its alleged misleading advertisements and malpractices. Let’s see the timeline of the entire case.
Crux of the Matter
Who Is Pradeep Poonia?
Pradeep emerged as one of the main whistleblowers, taking on the marketing gimmicks of Jr.’s with videos of their inexperienced teachers. A total of 15 complaints were filed with ASCI for 7 such ads and 5 ads were pulled down.
Is He Behind WhiteHat Snr.?
Yes, Pradeep is an ex-product manager at ed-tech firm NextEducation. He runs WhiteHat Snr., a YouTube channel that claims to offer a curriculum similar to WhiteHat Jr. for free.
Case of Disappearing Negative Reviews
Apparently, many of Pradeep’s videos and social media accounts (on YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, Quora, and LinkedIn) were taken down, after he started sharing screenshots and videos of the company’s toxic work culture and questionable practices, via their slack channel.
He also claimed to show how employees used personal and fake accounts to get negative reviews – including videos showing the inexperience of teachers – removed as well as harass their critics like Anirudha Malpani, an angel investor.
Did This Happen To Others Too?
A rival kid’s coding platform, Tekie, also accused Jr of posing as a student in their classes to understand and copy their model of teaching. A 12-year-old YouTuber Jihan Haria, who roasted an advert, had his video taken down, too.
Battle Shifted Offline
Last week, Jr filed a ₹20 crore defamation case against Poonia, accusing him of defaming the coding startup, accessing internal communications, and violating its name copyrights. A ‘copy-paste’ lawsuit of ~₹14 crores was filed against Malpani too.
What Did HC Say?
At the Delhi HC hearing on Nov. 23, Justice Mukta Gupta granted an ad-interim injunction in favour of WhiteHat Jr. Poonia has been barred from accessing their internal communications and using the name WhiteHat Sr online, until the next hearing on January 6, 2021.
Likewise, Malpani was also restrained from making defamatory commentary against WhiteHat Jr and next hearing for him would be January 14, 2021.
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- Coursera is an American massive open online course (MOOC) provider that has online courses, certifications, and degrees in a variety of subjects. edX.org is another well-known MOOC.
- Founder of Khan Academy, Salman ‘Sal’ Amin Khan attended MIT and Harvard Business School. Khan was named one of the 11 inaugural members of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship by Barack Obama in 2014.