#MeToo: AR Rahman would love to see the industry become respectful of women

AR Rahman believes India’s #MeToo movement has the power to make the industry cleaner and respectful of women. He said his aim has always been to create a safe working environment for everyone

Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage
Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage

NH Web Desk

Music maestro AR Rahman believes India's #MeToo movement has the power to make the entertainment industry cleaner and respectful of women.

The 51-year-old Oscar-winning composer, who shared his views on the movement Monday night via social media, said his aim has always been to create a safe working environment for everyone.

"Been observing the #MeToo movement... Some of the names have shocked me... both the victims and their perpetrators... I would love to see our industry become cleaner and respectful of women... More power to all the victims coming forward!! "In all my endeavours, my team and I are committed to creating an environment where everyone finds a safe creative space to bring their best, evolve and succeed," he wrote.

Rahman, however, said people should be careful before creating a "internet justice system".

"Social media offers great freedom for victims to speak up, however we should be careful in creating a new internet justice system, in case it's misused." Rahman's statement comes weeks after his long-time collaborator Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu was accused of predatory behaviour by multiple women, including popular singer Chinmayi Sripaada.

AR Raihanah, AR Rahman’s sister admitted that Vairamuthu has a certain “reputation” in the industry. AR Raihanah has said that she has not experienced any harassment but she has heard of many accounts regarding Vairamuthu’s behaviour.

Journalist Sandhya Menon, shared screenshots of anonymous allegations about a woman who was assaulted by Vairamuthu when she was 18 years old. She had gone to the poet’s residence-cum-office to work on a project.

Singer Chinmayi also came forward with her own experience. She stated that she had been allegedly asked to ‘cooperate’ with Vairamuthu and was asked to visit him in a hotel in Lucerne by the organiser of a programme in Switzerland. When she refused, she was told that her career was over. The incident took place in 2005 or 2006.

Many other accounts of alleged misconduct was brought to light, with many women choosing to remain anonymous.

Vairamuthu has refuted the allegations and asked the survivors to file a case against him.

“I am waiting to face it. I have been in deep discussion with senior lawyers and intellectuals over the past week. I have gathered unshakeable evidence. You can file a case,” he had said in a video released to the press on October 14.

India's #MeToo movement started after actor Tanushree Dutta revived a decade-old allegation of harassment against Nana Patekar, accusing him of sexual misconduct on the sets of a 2008 film.

Following Dutta's allegations, many from the Indian film industry including people like Vikas Bahl, Alok Nath, Subhash Ghai, Sajid Khan have been accused of sexual harassment by various women.

(with inputs from agencies)

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