The MeToo movement has hit the Tamil cinema industry with a number of women including noted singer Chinmayi Sripaada Wednesday levelling allegations against veteran lyricist Vairamuthu.
Sripaada, who has crooned a number of songs including for Oscar winner AR Rahman, alleged inappropriate conduct by the poet against her during a foreign tour sometime in 2005 or 2006.
Vairamuthu, who had recently courted controversy for his reported remarks against Vaishnavite saint Andal, said he was being “repeatedly insulted” in the recent past and the #MeToo allegations were one among them.
“The indecency of defaming known persons is becoming a fashion across the country. Of late, I have been repeatedly insulted and this is one of those. I ignore anything that is far from truth. Time will tell the truth,” he wrote on Twitter.
The allegations against Vairamuthu, a celebrated National award-winning lyricist, have surfaced following Sripaada and a journalist sharing allegations of inappropriate conduct by him on Twitter.
Most of the women who had made the accusations have either remained anonymous or their identities have been withheld by the two.
Sripaada herself claimed inappropriate conduct towards her by Vairamuthu, even as she shared experiences of other women, some of whom narrated incidents that allegedly happened when they were in their late teens.
Sripaada, in a reply to Vairamuthu’s statement, simply wrote: “Liar.”
While major stars from the South film industry have stayed away from commenting on #MeToo movement actor Siddharth and Prakash Raj have backed the campaign.
“Multiple women are speaking out against Kavignar #Vairamuthu. Without judging anyone, they must be heard. When somebody of @Chinmayi’s stature who has so much to lose, stands by the accusers, that’s huge! There will be investigation. First step #ListenToTheAccuser #MeToo #Timesup,” Siddharth tweeted.
Actor Prakash Raj said, “#MeToo…this is an EPIDEMIC in all walks of life….to be DONE WITH in our SOCIETY…more power to you WOMAN … YOU CAN DO IT..come out and give it back…..continue #justasking.”
Raghu Dixit, the frontman for the Raghu Dixit Project, a multilingual folk music band, is the latest to be accused of sexual harassment by an anonymous singer, whose account was shared by Sripaada on Twitter.
Dixit could not be reached for a comment despite attempts.
On Tuesday, Malayalam actor-turned-MLA Mukesh was accused by a casting director from Bollywood who claimed to be harassed by him in 1999 during shooting of a television show. He has denied the allegations.
Following Hollywood’s MeToo movement, which has seen several women there speaking out about sexual harassment faced by them, many people are referring to Tanushree Dutta’s statement on Bollywood actor Nana Patekar as the beginning of a similar campaign in Hindi cinema.
Following her allegations, women across various spheres, including journalists, have taken to the social media, narrating their ordeal.