Instagram has been ordered by the Delhi High Court to reveal the identity of the user behind the account Scene and Herd (@Herdsceneand), which has posted sexual harassment allegations against Indian artist Subodh Gupta. Facebook, the parent company of Instagram, and Google must also remove 18 posts concerning the allegations. Instagram must reveal the account holder’s identity by November 18th, the date of the case’s next court hearing.
Scene and Herd anonymously posts sexual harassment allegations against figures in the Indian art world, with its first post dating to a little under a year ago. The account accused Gupta of inappropriate comments and behavior in December of 2018 and January of 2019. Gupta has said the allegations are “entirely false and fabricated,” and he stepped down as guest curator of the Serendipity Arts Festival soon after the first accusation was posted. Gupta has sought 5 million rupees ($71,000) in damages from the owners of the account.
According to The Art Newspaper, the judge presiding over the case said the content on the account was “defamatory” and couldn’t be “permitted to be made in public domain” without being “backed by legal recourse.” Scene and Herd has also been banned from posting further content concerning Gupta until the next hearing.
As one of India’s most well-known contemporary artists, Gupta is the most high-profile figure to be accused of sexual misconduct from the account, but Sotheby’s managing director in India and a co-founder of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale have also faced accusations. Both men stepped down from their positions after Scene and Herd posted allegations against them.