It started with Chinmayi naming National Award winning lyricist Vairamuthu of sexual misconduct with several other women corroborating her claims. Soon enough, other names started tumbling down including that of singer Karthik, filmmaker Susi Ganesan, actor Arjun Sarja, and others.
While most of the personalities from the industry have either maintained a radio silence over this or simply tweeted in solidarity, composer AR Rahman took to Twitter on Monday evening and said what had to be said about the movement.
He wrote: “Been observing the #metoo movement… Some of the names have shocked me… both the victims and their perpetrators… I would love to see our industry become cleaner and respectful of women… More power to all the victims coming forward!!”
Stating that Rahman and his team aim to create a safer environment for women, he further added, “In all my endeavours, my team and I are committed to creating an environment where everyone finds a safe creative space to bring their best, evolve and succeed.”
— A.R.Rahman (@arrahman) October 22, 2018
His sister Reihana, too, opened up about the movement, stating that she has never faced any misconduct.
“I support this #MeToo movement. Earlier when Suchi leaked the videos, I thought how bold she is; she outed many famous persons. But when I saw Sri Reddy come out, I felt pity for her. Why did she accept all those things? Despite which, coming out publicly and revealing the names is good. Exploiting women has now become a social taboo.”
Saying that she believes Chinmayi’s allegation against Vairamuthu, she added “The only problem is, it has happened 15 years ago. She should have spoken about it back then and made sure he did not repeat those actions. I believe her because this is not the only incident. Two people I know have spoken about him.”
The last few weeks have been an important one for women in India, marking a watershed moment where women have been outing their harassers with their identity and anonymously, too. While this is being dubbed as India’s #MeToo and #TimesUp movement that was originally started by student Raya Sarkar’s list of sexual harassers in academia (LoSHA) last year, this year the moment gained more attention when former actress Tanushree Dutta shared how veteran actor Nana Patekar abused and harassed her ten years ago.
Soon enough, journalist Sandhya Menon, who has been sharing stories of harassment endured by several women, shared a screenshot of an anonymous journalist accusing National Awards winning Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu of sexual misconduct. In a series of tweets last week, Chinmayi wrote about the time over 10 years ago, when was asked to “co-operate” and meet Vairamuthu in his hotel room. She has since been sharing accounts by various women who wish to be anonymous, relating stories of misconduct from the lyricist.
Ever since then, women have been opening up about workplace harassment with several names of prominent figures being added to the list.
Reacting to all this, Vairamuthu has refuted these stories and claims that he will go the legal route, suing the women for trying to defame him.