Quantcast
Connect with us

Bikram Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury seeks bankruptcy in wake of harassment claims

Published

on

Bikram Choudhury Yoga Inc, the studio that popularized doing yoga in sauna heat, has filed for U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy, dogged by $16.7 million in legal judgments and numerous lawsuits and allegations of sexual misconduct.

Founder Bikram Choudhury, who built a worldwide following with classes of 26 yoga postures in rooms heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.6°C), has been accused of sexual assault by his yoga practitioners, students, instructors and teacher trainees.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Simi Valley, California-based company said in a bankruptcy court filing on Thursday in the Central District of California that its liabilities were worth up to $50 million. It listed assets of up to $1 million, suggesting that its largest creditors – women who are owed money for court judgments awarded against Choudhury – will not be paid in full.

They include Miki Jaffa Bodden, former head of legal and international affairs at Choudhury’s yoga school who has an $8 million claim stemming from a wrongful dismissal case that included sexual harassment claims.

Bodden alleged that Choudhury repeatedly subjected her to vulgar sexual gestures and offensive comments about women and minority groups.

“Birkram Choudhury created a hyper-sexualized, offensive and degrading environment for women by, among other things, demanding that female staffers brush his hair and give him massages,” Bodden said in her 2013 lawsuit.

She also accused him of pressuring her to cover up sexual harassment of women, and in a separate lawsuit filed this year, of fraudulently transferring assets such as luxury cars including a Ferrari and a Bentley to avoid paying judgments against him.

ADVERTISEMENT

A warrant for Choudhury’s arrest was issued in May.

Petra Starke, who moved from her job as lawyer in the Obama White House to chief executive of the Bikram Yoga College of India in 2013, complained of wrongful dismissal, sexually inappropriate conduct and “racist tirades.” She has a $5.1 million claim.

Sharon Clerkin, who sued claiming she was fired for becoming pregnant, is owed $3.6 million.

ADVERTISEMENT

The bankruptcy filing, which included affiliates Bikram Inc and Bikram Yoga College of India, follows heightened social awareness over sexual misconduct in the wake of allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey and comedian Louis C.K.

Restructuring experts have mentioned Chapter 11 bankruptcy as an option for the Weinstein Company to avoid mounting legal claims against its founder, Harvey Weinstein, over alleged sexual crimes.

ADVERTISEMENT

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Richard Chang)


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Matt Gaetz forgot which network he was on: Surprised CNN anchor said ‘I’ve never been called Sean Hannity’

Published

on

Rep. Matt Gaetz seemed to confuse cable news networks during a Thursday appearance

Gaetz was interviewed by CNN's Chris Cuomo, who aggressively challenged Gaetz on the facts as the Florida Republican attempted to defend President Donald Trump.

Despite the fact Cuomo's interview was nothing like the puff segments Gaetz is used to on Fox, the congressman seemed confused by the end.

"Congressman, you are always welcome, wherever I am, at nine or eleven, whenever," Cuomo said.

"Thanks Sean," Gaetz replied.

"Did you just call me Sean?" Cuomo asked. "Did you just call me Sean?"

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report

Published

on

On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.

"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."

Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation

Published

on

Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a

"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."

Continue Reading