“The Malayalam film industry is clean now and there is no such thing as casting couch in the industry,” said Innocent, the actor, Member of Parliament, and president of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists, during a press conference called to deny rumours of his resignation from the post of the president.

The News Minute reported Innocent’s statement: “It is not like the yesteryears. The situation today is such that if there is any bad behaviour towards any women, the media will know immediately,” he said. “But if the woman is bad, maybe they will go to bed.”

AMMA is already in the news for rallying behind the actor Dileep, who has been questioned by the police for his possible links to the abduction and assault of a leading actress.

Innocent’s statement has angered, among others, the recently formed Women in Cinema Collective. In a Facebook post, the collective issued a statement reacting to Innocent’s remarks. “The newcomers who are entering this industry have been subjected to various kinds of exploitation... Why, some of our colleagues spoke out about casting couch,” it read. “The actresses Parvathy and Lakshmi Rai shared their experiences with the media. The Justice Hema Commission, appointed by the government, is expected to conduct an effective investigation into the matter. So the WCC demands that those in the film industry be cautious about such statements which are blind to facts...”

Parvathy had told The News Minute in an interview in April, “Of course there is casting couch in the Malayalam film industry... I don’t understand why it’s a surprise at all. It’s a reality, why are we even shocked about it? I haven’t faced it at all in any other industry, but only in Malayalam industry.”