Ex-Penguin chief Davidar forced his tongue into mouth of sexually harassed employee

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Toronto, June 13 (ANI): Former Indian-born CEO of Penguin Canada David Davidar has been accused of forcibly shoving his tongue into the mouth of Lisa Rundle, a former employee, during one of their encounters in a hotel.

The Globe and Mail quotes Rundle, as saying that she was sexually harassed and assaulted by Davidar on a number of occasions.

The harassment allegedly culminated in an outright assault at the Frankfurt Book Fair last October when, according to the claim, Davidar appeared at Rundle's hotel room door, "wearing excessive cologne, with buttons on his shirt undone down his waist."

"Lisa stood in her hotel room into which Davidar had bullied his way, with her arms crossed, still near the door, and asked what he needed to discuss," it said.

"He told her to relax and just let him come in. She refused and said she wanted to go to sleep."

Rundle claims she climbed on a windowsill to avoid her boss and again asked him to leave.

"He forcibly pulled her off the ledge and grabbed her by the wrists, forcing his tongue into her mouth," it said.

Davidar's reprehensible conduct has forced him to part ways with Penguin Canada.

Last year, he is said to have written that he "could do very little except think of [Ms. Rundle]," that she was "utterly gorgeous," "a vision in pink sipping a champagne cocktail," and that she should not be "stubborn" or "fight" him.

"Davidar over time became more and more intense with his persistent protestations of lust and desire for Lisa," according to the claim, "and in return she became increasingly disturbed and afraid."

Rundle has launched a 523,000-dollar lawsuit alleging that Davidar sexually harassed her repeatedly over the past three years, and that she was fired after complaining to superiors about Davidar's "twisted treatment" of her.

Rundle was formerly a director of digital publishing and foreign rights for Penguin Canada.

She is claiming damages of 423,000-dollars from Penguin for wrongful dismissal and the "harsh, vindictive and malicious fashion" with which it allegedly treated her following her complaints against Davidar. She is also seeking damages of 100,000-dollars against Davidar personally.

The allegations were made in a statement of claim filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on June 9, the day after Penguin Group chairman John Makinson and Davidar jointly announced the latter's decision to leave one of the top jobs in the international company.

They have not been proven in court and Davidar has not yet filed his defence.

Until this week, Davidar was widely regarded as the golden boy of the Canadian publishing industry, leaving many in that close-knit community dumbfounded by his sudden departure.

In January, Makinson promoted him to head of Penguin International, a new division overseeing the company's activities in South Africa, India and the Middle East.

Many speculated he was being groomed to succeed Makinson as chairman of the worldwide Penguin Group. (ANI)

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