With fresh allegations abound, the #metoo movement that began trending earlier this month has unveiled the ugly side of the Tamil film fraternity. Singer Chinmayi and the other victims who have come forward with their stories have been not only subjected to victim blaming and even more harassment online and in the real world.
Action King is all words, no action
New allegations have surfaced against actor Arjun, who is said to have harassed his co star on the set of Nibunan. Shruthi Hariharan tweeted the allegations a day ago, and has been chided vehemently by Twitterati. Arjun has threatened to take legal action and he has been quoted saying, ” I am saddened by the allegations and I don’t know I can correct this. I will speak about improving the shots and dialogues but I don’t have the cheap mentality of using this profession to touch women inappropriately,”
Arjun also says that this accusation has diluted the #metoo movement due to the lack of evidence, “I respect and value the #metoo movement. It should be used for good purposes and bring to light injustices but not in situations like this when there is no proof or sense to the claims. When this happens, the movement loses value,”
A R Rahman speaks up, albeit quietly
The Isai Puyal who has worked with Vairamuthu for decades has kept mum throughout the numerous allegations direction towards the poet. Tweeting his support for the movement earlier this week, Rahman says “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!”
The tweet was replete with a disclaimer at the end, reminding netizens that this shouldn’t be an avenue for social media justice, and not to misuse the platform.
Prakash Raj tweets his support
With regards to the Arjun allegations, Prakash Raj tweeted that he stands by the victim. “Let us not forget that Arjun Sarja is the pride of Kannada film industry and a veteran actor. But in the wake of the allegations made by Sruthi Hariharan, let us also try to understand the pain, helplessness and insult experienced by the woman for so many days. Even if Arjun dismisses the allegations, it would be best if he apologised for the pain he has caused on the day (of the shoot).”
The Superstar weighs in cautiously too
During an interview, Rajinikanth states that #metoo is a good initiative and that the safety of women is of utmost importance. He too, felt the need to add a disclaimer and state that the platform should not be misused.
“Don’t misuse #metoo,”
Arjun clearly said what he did in self defense. But why did both Rajinikanth and A R Rahman advise people not to misuse the #metoo wave? Neither one of them voiced support for these predators, but we can’t help but to wonder what was insinuated by these stalwarts with their little disclaimer. Perhaps this was their way of standing up for their compatriots in the industry. Or maybe they’re just struggling to admit that the industry has failed the victims?
People of sound mind know that this isn’t something to misuse. Knowing how harsh the Tamil audience is on a woman who doesn’t wear a dupatta, it would take a lot for a woman share her experience of sexual harassment by a powerful, famous man in the industry.
The victims were merely sharing their stories of being wronged. The literally have everything to lose, and nothing to gain. After decades of sweeping this under the rug, isn’t it time we provide a safe space for victims to be heard, without any room for dismissal?