Tamil poet-lyricist Vairamuthu and Kerala-based actor-turned politician Mukesh on Wednesday refuted sexual harassment allegations against them. Since October 5, several women have taken to social media to give detailed accounts of the sexual harassment and misconduct they faced. The campaign is being dubbed as the #MeToo movement in India.
Vairamuthu took to Twitter to describe the claims against him as part of an effort to “insult him”. “Spreading defamatory things about popular personalities is becoming a culture across the country,” the poet tweeted. “I will not bother about falsehood. Time will tell the truth.”
Several women have accused Vairamuthu of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct on Twitter. On Monday, singer Chinmayi Sripaada endorsed these allegations against the poet and later shared accounts of the sexual harassment she too suffered allegedly at his hands.
Meanwhile, Mukesh told reporters that he did not remember nor would he be able to recognise the complainant in a photograph. “I never misbehaved with anyone over phone,” Mukesh said. “I am not that type of a person [who misbehaves with women]. Someone may have misguided the complainant. Someone named Mukesh may have called her [while she was working on the shoot] but it was not me.”
The Kerala MLA said he was from a “family of artistes” and that he supports the #MeToo campaign. “Women should respond immediately if they face sexual harassment,” Mukesh said. “Then only we will get more women artistes.”
On Tuesday, a Mumbai-based casting director accused Mukesh on Twitter of sexual harassment. She said the incident took place 19 years ago. Mukesh is now a Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA and represents Kollam constituency.
The woman claimed that during her time as director of a Malayalam television show, Mukesh had called her hotel room a number of times. She was the only woman in the crew, which was stationed in Chennai’s Le Meridien Hotel. Mukesh, who was hosting the show, asked hotel authorities to change her room to one next to his, she claimed.
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Communist Party of India (Marxist) state secretary, told Scroll.in on Tuesday that the party will legally examine the allegations against the actor. “All allegations must not be true,” the party official said.