Chinmayi Sripaada accuses Vairamuthu of sexual harassment; lyricist denies charges
Tamil lyricist and poet Vairamuthu has been accused of sexually harassing women in multiple separate anonymous accounts
Editor's note: Following Rituparna Chatterjee's report — Is India’s #MeToo moment here? Women are angry and they are naming and shaming their abusers — Firstpost will publish a series of articles collating personal accounts of those who have made allegations of harassment, along with responses from those who have been accused of such behaviour. This is an ongoing exercise and will be updated to reflect new developments. If you wish to draw our attention to instances of harassment you may have experienced or witnessed, tweet to us @firstpost with the hashtag #MeToo.
Women have been calling out their alleged harassers on social media, in a wave of #MeToo accounts that took over timelines in India last week.
Now, Tamil lyricist and poet Vairamuthu has been accused of sexually harassing women. Multiple, separate anonymous accounts were sent to journalist Sandhya Menon (@TheRestlessQuil) and singer Chinmayi Sripaada calling out Vairamuthu as an alleged predator. In a later tweet, Sripaada also accused the lyricist of sexual misconduct and intimidation.
Vairamuthu has since then taken to Twitter to dismiss these allegations. His tweet is in Tamil, but translates to:
"It has become fashionable to cast aspersions on those who are popular. I have been shamed repeatedly in recent times. This is one of them. I dismiss anything other than truth. Truth will win."
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 first accuser, who reached out to Menon, alleged that the lyricist forced himself on her when she was 18. He got uncomfortably close to her on the pretext of trying to explain the meaning of certain lyrics. Although the woman was compelled to work with him on several occasions, she would always be in a group to avoid a direct encounter.
Sripaada, who was one of the first people to stand by the survivor, shared two accounts which accused Vairamuthu of sexual misconduct, apart from her own. In a statement given to Firstpost, she said there were other women who had corroborated the allegations in personal interactions but were afraid to speak out. The woman who reached out to Sripaada, is now scared that her career may be over. "I am sure he will not stay silent. He is politically connected. I don't know if I, myself, have a career left but I stand by the victims' account. I know this is true."
Year 2005/2006 maybe. 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) — Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) October 9, 2018
I cannot stop shaking. My Friend will remain anonymous.@vairamuthu Why people cannot share at the risk of their careers. And bloody hell #MeToo!! pic.twitter.com/REj1UcTxtL — Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) October 8, 2018
In a later tweet, Sripaada shared another such episode where Vairamuthu and an unnamed producer allegedly asked another female singer for sexual favours in exchange for a professional opportunity. The woman, shaken by the incident, decided to quit singing for films altogether.
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