Popular singer Chinmayi Sripaada has backed accusations of sexual harassment against veteran Tamil lyricist-poet Vairamuthu by alleging that she was asked to “cooperate” and visit him in a hotel but she refused.
After endorsing allegations of sexual harassment against Vairamuthu by several others on Twitter in the wake of the #MeToo movement, Chinmayi shared her own story.
In a series of tweets, Chinmayi recalled an incident that a concert organizer asked her to “cooperate” and visit Vairamuthu in his hotel room. She said this happened in 2005 or 2006.
“‘Veezhamattom’. An album for Sri Lankan Tamils that I had sung in had Manikka Vinayagam sir. I don’t remember if it was a book or an album release or both now. The performances and launch happened in Switzerland in Bern/Zurich maybe,” she tweeted.
“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.”
Chinmayi said she was asked to “cooperate” but she 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. ‘Career vendam, mannum vendam (I don’t need a career, I need self-esteem)’. Demanded an earlier flight to India and came back.”
Recalling another incident, which she said happened three or four years ago, Chinmayi alleged that Vairamuthu threatened to make false claims when she turned down his request to sing at an event.
“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. (I) kept the phone down (and) bawled,” wrote Chinmayi.
She added that her workplace had been mostly clean, except for some bad apples.
“In 17 years, not one man in the industry across languages Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, and Marathi has misbehaved.”
She alleged that the staff of Vairamuthu’s office was well aware of his behavior. “His close confidants know. They are also his enablers,” she said.