#MeToo reaches Kollywood; Chinmayi accuses Vairamuthu of sexual harassment; The lyricist denies
In a shocking turn, the #MeToo movement has hit at the heart of Tamil cinema, with lyricist Vairamuthu alleged to be a harasser
(This is a developing story)
Lyricist Vairamuthu denies the accusation levelled against him by Chinmayi and others. He took to twitter to say, "It has become the trend to level accusations against famous people in the country now. This is an uncivilised act. I have been continuously shamed in recent days and the latest (#MeToo accusations) are one among those. I don't take heed of all such untrue statements. Truth will have its day."
அறியப்பட்டவர்கள் மீது அவதூறு பரப்பும் அநாகரிகம் நாடெங்கும் இப்போது நாகரிகமாகி வருகிறது. அண்மைக்காலமாக நான் தொடர்ச்சியாக அவமானப்படுத்தப்பட்டு வருகிறேன்; அவற்றுள் இதுவும் ஒன்று. உண்மைக்குப் புறம்பான எதையும் நான் பொருட்படுத்துவதில்லை; உண்மையைக் காலம் சொல்லும்.— வைரமுத்து (@vairamuthu) October 10, 2018
The #MeToo movement in India is seeing a lot of skeletons tumbling out of the closets of various fields in the country. While this avalanche started off in the stand-up comedy circle, it has since brought out names of harassers from the fields of journalism, advertising, and cinema.
In the field of cinema, it has mainly remained to Hindi cinema so far. There have been accusations against director Vikas Bahl, and Tanushree Dutta's allegations against Nana Patekar, and now, in a shocking turn, the movement has hit at the heart of Tamil cinema, with Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu alleged to be a harasser. Journalist Sandhya Menon, who has been collating various responses to her thread on the #MeToo movement, put out a tweet with messages sent to her by a person on condition of anonymity.
The anonymous person claims that she faced a tough ordeal at the residence of the seven-time National Award winner.
On lyricist Vairamuthu pic.twitter.com/c6DwYWOO6C— Sandhya Menon (@TheRestlessQuil) October 8, 2018
This tweet, since retweeted a few hundred times, was also picked up by singer and voice artist Chinmayi, who herself was speaking about multiple instances of abuse she has faced over the years. She tweeted out her support and said,
When we reached out to her about the allegations against Vairamuthu, she said, "He is a serial predator. This has happened to multiple people."
She has shared her first hand experiences in a series of tweets.
Year 2005/2006 maybe.— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) October 9, 2018
Veezhamattom. An album for Srilankan Tamizhs that I had sung in, as had Manikka Vinayagam sir.
I dont remember if it was a book or an album release or both now; the performances and launch happened in Switzerland in (Bern / Zurich maybe)
We sang. We went to Switzerland. We performed.— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) October 9, 2018
Everyone left. Only my mother and I were asked to stay back.
The organizer(I dont remember his name) asked me to visit Vairamuthu sir in a hotel in Lucerne.
I asked why. He told me to cooperate. I refused. We demanded to be sent back to India. He said ‘You wont have a career!’— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) October 9, 2018
My mother and I both put our foot down, career vendam mannum vendam. Demanded an earlier flight to India and came back.
3, maybe 4 years ago, he had a book release function & asked me to sing Tamizh Thaai vaazhthu.— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) October 9, 2018
I said I would be unable to.
He in turn responded ‘I ll tell (a politician) you spoke ill of him on stage, yelled at me and kept the phone down
I bawled. My parents in law consoled me
Then had the courage to call his manager back & told him ‘I ll go and tell the same politician you re lying because I have NEVER given a political speech and HE will trust ME.— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) October 9, 2018
This for refusing to sing.
And you ask why victims dont name him?!
To hell with those of you who do.
In 17 years not one man in the industry across languages Hindi Tamil Telugu Malayalam Kannada Marathi has misbehaved.— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) October 9, 2018
Not one man has indecently messaged me or touched me.
My work place is mostly clean save for some bad apples.
I call Vairamuthu (Sir) out alone and I dare.
The staff at Vairamuthu sir’s office KNOW. His closest confidants know. They are also his enablers.— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) October 9, 2018
Vairamuthu sir, you KNOW what you did.
With due respect your #TimesUp
I dont care if I ever sing or dub in this industry ever.
This is my story. And this is the truth.
After the first such message and Chinmayi's support, more similar messages were shared.
Here is one more share
Adding another victim’s story. pic.twitter.com/ZrId3wPfrO— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) October 9, 2018
One more allegation against Vairamuthu pic.twitter.com/DuRjsq0276— Sandhya Menon (@TheRestlessQuil) October 9, 2018
Attempts to reach the lyricist were unsuccessful.
The #MeToo movement in India is kicking up a storm and these allegations are beginning to have far-reaching consequences with top journalists being asked to step down from their positions.