The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Sunday suspended actor Radha Ravi from the party following his sexist comments about actor Nayanthara, reported NDTV.

Ravi made the comments on Saturday at the trailer launch of the film Kolaiyuthir Kaalam, which has Nayanthara in the lead role. Nayanthara was not present at the event.

“Nayanthara acts as a ghost, and then she goes on to act as Sita as well,” said Ravi, president of the Tamil Nadu Dubbing Union, according to The News Minute. “She acts as Sita! Earlier, to play the role of a goddess, they would look for [someone like] KR Vijaya. Now, anyone can be cast to play a goddess. They can cast someone who you want to pray to when you look at them, they can also cast someone you want to call towards you when you see them!”

A statement issued by DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan said that the actor was being suspended from primary membership of the party. “Actor Radha Ravi is being temporarily suspended from primary membership of the party and all party posts for breaching party discipline and acting in a manner that brings disrepute to the party,” said the party.

In the same speech, Ravi also made comments about the Pollachi sexual assault and extortion scandal. “What is the difference between a big film and a small film?” he asked. “If you rape one girl at once, it is a small film. If you rape 40 people at once, like in Pollachi, it is a big film.” A video of his speech was widely shared on social media.

Ravi expressed “regret” for his statements but said that mediapersons would have “reprimanded” him if he had said something wrong. “To Nayanthara and [film director] Vignesh [Shivn], I express regret,” PTI quoted him as telling Tamil TV channel Puthiya Thalaimurai. “Because it is a matter of anguish that it has affected them. They hail from my industry.”

The South Indian Artistes Association also criticised Ravi and said it was not the first time he was making remarks with “double meaning” at a public event. The association warned Ravi of “non-cooperation” if he makes such statements in the future.

A part of the Tamil film fraternity has condemned Ravi’s comments.

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan described the incident as regrettable. “She [Nayanthara] is a woman and belongs to our industry,” Haasan said. “We have the first responsibility to treat her with respect.” Haasan praised the DMK for suspending Ravi.

Singer Chinmayi was the first to point out Ravi’s sexist comment. Chinmayi Sripada, who was banned from the Tamil Nadu Dubbing Union after she spoke out against lyricist Vairamuthu for sexual harassment, said on Sunday: “Been waiting since yesterday for *some* sort of condemnation from the male actor fraternity in Tamil Nadu since yesterday. In this video Radha Ravi, President, TN Dubbing Union openly slut shames a female actor at HER movie’s trailer launch. And not. a. word from anyone. Yet.”

Director Vignesh Shivn also criticised Ravi’s comment. “Clueless and helpless cos no one will support or do anything or take any action against that filthy piece of sh*t coming from a legendary family...he keeps doing this to seek attention! Brainless! Sad to see audience laughing & clapping for his filthy comments!” he tweeted.

Director Milind Rau promised to “never work with this misogynistic person ever again”, reported The News Minute. Actor Tapsee Pannu and singer-musician Vishal Dadlani are a few others who condemned Ravi’s remarks.

Ravi has made derogatory, sexist and insensitive statements earlier also. In March 2017, he mocked children with disabilities during a political speech. Later, he refused to apologise, saying he was “not the type” to.

Nayanthara calls Ravi’s comments ‘cheap popularity tactics’

Nayanthara on Monday said actors like Ravi who have become “irrelevant” rely on “cheap popularity tactics” to grab limelight. She also pointed out that the audience too has some responsibility. “As long as the audience encourage sexist remarks, speakers like Radha Ravi will continue to thrive on misogyny and cracking of denigrating jokes against women,” Nayanthara said in her statement.

She urged the South Indian Artistes’ Association to set up the Internal Complaints Committee and start an inquiry as per the Vishakha guidelines.

The actor also thanked DMK chief MK Stalin for taking swift action against Ravi.