'Falsehood', Says Vairamuthu Of Sexual Harassment Allegations. 'Liar', Responds Chinmayi

Chinmayi joins the ranks of those scores of women have outed alleged sexual harassers in their workplaces recently.

Women across the nation are raising their voices against sexual harassment and for a change, are being heard and believed. The latest to reveal the ordeal she went through is singer Chinmayi Sripaada who has accused renowned Tamil poet and lyricist Vairamuthu of alleged sexual harassment. She’s a little unclear about the timeline of the incident but believes it took place in 2005-06 when both of them were in Switzerland for an album or book launch.

Taking to Twitter, Chinmayi wrote about how Vairamuthu tried to coerce her into visiting him at his hotel room, and when rebuffed, the event organiser told her that she won’t ‘have a career’. She and her mother both returned back to India soon after.

Talking about the incident, she wrote: “Year 2005/2006 maybe, Veezhamattom, an album for Sri Lankan Tamizhs that I had sung in, as had Manikka Vinayagam sir. We went to Switzerland, we sang, we performed. Everyone left. Only my mother and I were asked to stay back. The organizer (I don’t remember his name) asked me to visit Vairamuthu sir in a 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!’ My mother and I both put our foot down… demanded an earlier flight to India and came back.”

This wasn’t the end of her experience with Vairamuthu however. Years later, after refusing to perform with him, she became a target for him yet again leading to threats from him. Writing about her experience, she wrote: “Three, maybe four years ago, he had a book release function and 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. My parents-in-law consoled me. Then had the courage to call his manager back and told him ‘I’ll go and tell the same politician you’re lying because I have NEVER given a political speech and HE will trust ME. This for refusing to sing. And you ask why victims don’t name him?! To hell with those of you who do.”

This is not the first account of alleged sexual harassment against Vairamuthu. In the last few days many women have come forward on social media to talk about what they faced at his hands. Many of these anonymous experiences were shared on Twitter by journalist Sandhya Menon:

While speaking to the press, the national award singer’s mother backed Chinmayi’s claims, saying: “This has taken a very good momentum. It is all our duty to shake their head and tell them without mincing words. One look and put them in their position. We have to take action as individuals.”

Vairamuthu, meanwhile, refuted Chinmayi’s allegations on Twitter, saying defaming celebrities is ‘becoming a part of the culture across the country’. “‘FaI will not bother about falsehood. Time will tell the truth,” he wrote.

Chinmayi responded to his statement with just a word:

In the last few days, scores of women have outed alleged sexual harassers in their workplaces and otherwise. With the #MeToo movement in India only just gaining momentum, it seems inevitable that more names will soon join the growing list.