During the latest hearing in WhiteHat Jr’s defamation case, Pradeep Poonia asked for the records of ‘Wolf Gupta’ and ‘Ryan Venkat’ ads that the company ran on Facebook and Instagram, as well as documents from the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) and the Department of Consumer Affairs, where complaints against WhiteHat Jr were filed. In a LinkedIn post, Poonia said WhiteHat Jr opposed the request.
In October 2020, the Advertising Standards Council of India had asked WhiteHat Jr to remove five of its ads for making misleading claims on social media. One of the ads showed a 7-year-old girl as a TEDx speaker and app developer.
The online hearing on Wednesday could not take place due to technical difficulties; the next hearing is scheduled for February 1.
In November, Byju’s-owned WhiteHat Jr obtained gag orders from the Delhi High Court against Poonia and investor Aniruddha Malpani, who have publicly criticised the company’s practices and its resultant impact on children. Malpani was restrained from making defamatory comments against WhiteHat Jr and its employees, and Poonia was forced to delete some of his tweets.
In recent months, WhiteHat Jr. has managed to wipe any criticism about itself off of YouTube by claiming copyright infringements. Apart from posts on YouTube, multiple people who have critiqued the company or its ads have found their posts wiped across social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter and Quora, Forbes India reported. Multiple videos posted by Poonia and at least two of his YouTube channels have been removed.