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As #MeToo Gains Momentum, Singer Chinmayi Sripaada Calls Out Veteran Lyricist for Harassment

Actor Siddharth came out in support of the singer, saying women must be heard and an investigation ordered.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:October 9, 2018, 8:53 PM IST
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As #MeToo Gains Momentum, Singer Chinmayi Sripaada Calls Out Veteran Lyricist for Harassment
Singer Chinmayi Sripaada.
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Chennai: Another name has joined the #MeToo bandwagon with singer Chinmayi Sripaada accusing legendary lyricist Vairamuthu of harassing her.

Taking to Twitter, Chinmayi said: “Year 2005/2006 maybe. Veezhamattom. An album for Srilankan Tamizhs that I had sung in, as had Manikka Vinayagam sir.I dont remember if it was a book or an album release or both now; the performances and launch happened in Switzerland in (Bern / Zurich maybe). We sang. We went to Switzerland. We performed. Everyone left. Only my mother and I were asked to stay back.

“The organiser (I dont remember his name) asked me to visit Vairamuthu sir in a hotel in Lucerne. I asked why. He told me to cooperate. I 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. Demanded an earlier flight to India and came back.”

The singer, however, said the harassment did not stop there. Chinmayi said she was approached by Vairamuthu again and was harassed for refusing to sing.

“3, maybe 4 years ago, he had a book release function & 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 and kept the phone down. I bawled. My parents in law consoled me. Then had the courage to call his manager back & told him ‘I’ll go and tell the same politician you’re lying because I have NEVER given a political speech and HE will trust ME. This for refusing to sing. And you ask why victims don’t name him?! To hell with those of you who do,” she tweeted.

Chinmayi, who has been in the music industry for over 17 years, said she no one else in the industry had misbehaved with her except Vairamuthu. She added: “In 17 years not one man in the industry across languages Hindi Tamil Telugu Malayalam Kannada Marathi has misbehaved. Not one man has indecently messaged me or touched me. My work place is mostly clean save for some bad apples. I call Vairamuthu (Sir) out alone and I dare.”

Chinmayi said she remained silent for five years but what happened to her was a fact.

“The staff at Vairamuthu sir’s office KNOW. His closest confidants know. They are also his enablers. Vairamuthu sir, you KNOW what you did. With due respect your #TimesUp I don’t care if I ever sing or dub in this industry ever.This is my story. And this is the truth. I am glad I spoke up NOW. Not 5 years early. Not 10 years later but NOW. Some of us die with the stories. Many of us women still will. All of you have heard 0.2% of the stories. Look around. Ask around. You ll know. Dont. Ask. Why. Now. Why. Not. Earlier,” she tweeted

Actor Siddharth soon supported Chinmayi, saying women must be heard. “Multiple women are speaking out against Kavignar #Vairamuthu. Without judging anyone, they must be heard. When somebody of @Chinmayi's stature who has so much to lose, stands by the accusers, that's huge! There will be investigation. First step #ListenToTheAccuser #MeToo #Timesup,” he tweeted.

Chinmayi had been active on social media, sharing instances of what women went through when they were harassed by the lyricist. But on Tuesday, she broke her silence and called out the lyricist for his misconduct.
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