#MeToo in India: Was asked to cooperate, visit Vairamuthu in hotel room- Chinmayi Sripaada
Popular singer Chinmayi Sripaada has joined the bandwagon of those women who have opened up about their sexual harassment episodes in public. She has laid sexual harassment allegations against veteran Tamil lyricist-poet Vairamuthu by sharing her own story how she was asked to cooperate and visit him in a hotel. After endorsing allegations of sexual harassment against Vairamuthu by several users on Twitter in the wake of #MeToo movement, Chinmayi shared her own story to corroborate the reports.
In a series of tweets, Chinmayi recalled an incident where she alleged that the concert organiser asked her to cooperate and visit Vairamuthu in his hotel room.
“Year 2005/2006 maybe. Veezhamattom. An album for Sri Lankan Tamizhs that I had sung in, as had Manikka Vinayagam sir. I don’t remember if it was a book or an album release or both now; the performances and launch happened in Switzerland in Bern/Zurich maybe,” she tweeted, and added that she returned to Switzerland after the concert with her mother.
“Everyone left. Only my mother and I were asked to stay back. The organiser (I don’t remember his name) asked me to visit Vairamuthu sir in a hotel in Lucerne,” she wrote.
Chinmayi added that she was asked to “cooperate”. But she refused.
“We demanded to be sent back to India. He said ‘you won’t have a career!’ My mother and I both put our foot down, career vendam mannum vendam (don’t need career, need self-esteem). Demanded an earlier flight to India and came back.”
Recalling another incident, which she said happened three or four years ago, Chinmayi alleged that Vairamuthu threatened to make false claims when she turned down his request to sing at an event.
“He had a book release function & asked me to sing Tamizh Thaai vaazhthu. 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,” wrote Chinmayi.
She went on to write that her work place has been mostly clean save for some bad apples.
“In 17 years, not one man in the industry across languages Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Marathi has misbehaved.”
“I call Vairamuthu sir out alone and I dare,” she wrote.
She also alleged that the staff of Vairamuthu’s office are well aware of his behavior.
“His close confidants know. They are also his enablers,” she said.
The #MeToo movement has gained momentum in India post Tanushree Dutta coming out in public about her alleged sexual harassment at the hands of veteran actor Nana Patekar. Soon after, many women mustered the courage to speak up about their unpleasant episodes in public without people victim shaming them.
(With IANS Inputs)