The #MeToo movement, which has seen a number of survivors of sexual harassment opening up about their experiences and naming perpetrators on social media over the last few days, has trickled down to Kollywood, with allegations surfacing against poet Vairamuthu.
Singer Chinmayi Sripaada on Tuesday tweeted about how she was asked by the organisers of an event in Switzerland to ‘cooperate’ with Mr. Vairamuthu. While she earlier re-tweeted anonymous complaints about sexual misconduct in the industry without naming anyone, on Tuesday she drew Mr. Vairamuthu’s name into the controversy, with her own account. While a few members of the film fraternity spoke out in support of her, her tweets came in for a fair bit of trolling too.
While he did not react to the allegations directly, Mr. Vairamuthu tweeted on Wednesday stating that it had become common to engage in uncivilised acts like slander against well-known personalities, and the trend had spread so far and wide to the point of being considered civil.
“In the recent past, I have been constantly humiliated, and this is yet another attempt at the same. Time will reveal the truth,” he had said.
“The movement’s time has come and some of us have finally found the voice to speak up,” Ms. Chinmayi told The Hindu. In a telephonic conversation, she said that despite Mr. Vairamuthu skirting the allegations, “the fact remained that he was a serial predator.”
“At least four of my singer colleagues have made allegations. They are not lying,” she said.
In her tweets against Mr. Vairamuthu, Ms. Chinmayi had alleged that she had been asked by the Swiss event organiser to visit Mr. Vairamuthu in his hotel in Lucerne. “I asked why. He told me to cooperate. I refused. We demanded to be sent back to India. He said: ‘You won’t have a career!’,” she tweeted.
Mr. Vairamuthu was unavailable for comment.
In a video response, Suresh, who had organised the ‘Veezhamattom’ album launch event in Switzerland, rejected the singer’s allegations.
“I had hosted Chinmayi and her mother in my house. There is no way that any such incident could have happened. She was treated very well during the course of her stay here [in Switzerland],” he said.
“While he is in Switzerland, it is very tough to even meet Mr Vairamuthu. He comes here to appreciate nature and prefers to be alone. He has only met me once for dinner and it is tough for people to meet him as well,” he added.
He further reiterated that while it will be easy for someone of Mr Vairamuthu’s stature to tide over such false allegations given the conviction in his innocence, the claims made by the singer against an artist like him had made Tamils all over the world extremely angry.