The news director of Iran's Press TV, Hamid Reza Emadi, has been caught with his pants down. Almost literally.
Sheena Shirani, one of the company's news anchors, made public on Thursday ample amounts of evidence to support her recent claim that she was repeatedly sexually harassed by Emadi — a plight numerous superiors allegedly subjected her and other female colleagues to.
Recordings of telephone conversations, messages and pictures, all posted to Facebook, paint a picture of systematic harassment persisting over years. Shirani, a 32-year-old single mother, began working at Press TV in 2007.
Shirani: I'm angry with you.
Emadi: What did I do? I didn't even touch your breasts. Your breasts drive me crazy, but I didn't touch them.
Shirani: When I ask you to leave me alone —
Emadi: Did I do anything? Did I even touch you?
Shirani: You didn't necessarily have to touch me —
Emadi [aggressively]: Did I touch you?
Shirani [sighing]: I don't want to talk about it.
Emadi: I didn't do anything to you. I didn't touch you. Could you do me a favour?
Emadi: Will you do it for me? I'm really desperate. Satisfy me.
Shirani: What does that have to do with me?
Emadi: It's hurting me. My balls are bursting.
As part of her exposé on Thursday, Shirani posted screenshots of Whatsapp and Facebook messenger conversations between the two.
Immediately following, Shirani allegedly began receiving private messages from Emadi, imploring her to take the posts down — which she proceeded to take screenshots of and publicly share as well.
After receiving some distasteful feedback from other colleagues, Shirani discussed in another post why she handled the alleged abuse and harassment the way she did, explaining she was particularly vulnerable as a divorcée and single mother in Iran.
Emadi vehemently argued the recordings and correspondence were all counterfeit in a message written in Persian and threatened to legally pursue anyone who shared the material, claiming he would be aided by Interpol, an intergovernmental, international law enforcement agency, according to Iran Wire.
The Wire also reports Shirani and her son have fled the country and are choosing not to disclose their whereabouts, close friends told the publication.
Since Shirani made the scandal public, Emadi has disabled his Facebook account. He and Press TV studio manager Payam Afshar, another employee implicated in the harassment, have also been suspended.
However, many eagerly await the next steps as this affair becomes a prototype of sorts for official responses to sexual harassment in Iran, a country which — since the 1979 revolution, which transformed it into an Islamic republic — has in many ways relegated women to second-class citizenship.
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