#MeToo movement has been hijacked by some with personal agendas: Vishal
The actor says the movement started off with the best of intentions, but somewhere along the way was hijacked for personal vendetta
Vishal, General Secretary of the South Indian Artistes Association and President of Tamil Film Producers Council, is working with his peers to address sexual harassment issues in the different film industries in India.
"Whether it is Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam or Kannada cinema, the workplace must be made conducive to actress' safety and comfort. The fear of losing job opportunities must stop. Women must not succumb to sexual pressures just to get work," he said.
Women, he added, must feel safe while working in the entertainment industry. "And I am not just talking about the Tamil industry or the Telugu industry, but all the film industries in India -- be it Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bhojpuri... All must unite on the issue of providing safety for women on film sets, and off the sets where there is so much exploitation."
The actor said he and his peers are working towards ensuring that women in the industry have protection from sexual explotation. "My new release Sandakozhi 2 features two major female characters, played by Keerthy Suresh and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar. Both were ensured complete safety. When my films are shot, I will ensure the women are well looked after. We need to create the same comfort level for women in cinema across the country."
Though Vishal is all for the #MeToo movement, he feels the issue is getting tangled with personal agendas. "#MeToo started off with the best of intentions of exposing sexual predators. But somewhere along the way, the movement has been hijacked by some for personal interests. Now, those who have an axe to grind, maybe a role that was denied or a project that was promised and never fulfilled, are coming forward to take revenge. It has come to a stage where I feel I may wake up to hear my name being maligned. This atmosphere of distrust, suspicion, and fear must stop."