Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu, who was accused by multiple women of sexual harassment during the #MeToo movement, has now declared that he will be returning the ONV Literary Award.
On Twitter, he shared a video and captioned the post, “I will return the award #ONVaward.” He explained the reason for the decision, saying he does not want to put the jury in an uncomfortable position and hence is choosing to return it.
— வைரமுத்து (@Vairamuthu) May 29, 2021
In the video, Vairamuthu says, “The ONV cultural academy announced that this year the prestigious ONV Kurup literary award will be given to me. I was happy and grateful to receive the award. But, due to the interference of a few envious people, it was announced that the award is being re-examined. I am afraid this decision may belittle me and the ONV award. I also don’t wish to put a group of distinguished judges in a difficult spot. I would prefer to avoid receiving this award amid all the controversies. I would like to make one thing clear, I am being very honest. Nobody wants to examine my honesty. In this situation, I have made a clear decision. I am returning the award to the ONV a cultural academy. I also request that the cash reward of Rs 3 lakh that was part of the award to be donated to Kerala CM’s relief fund. And to token of my affection and respect towards Malayalees, I will also be contributing another Rs 2 lakh to the Kerala CM relief fund in my individual capacity. Let the brotherhood between Tamil and Malayalam thrive. I would also like to thank Tamil CM MK Stalin for congratulating me when the award was announced.”
ONV Literary Award was established in 2017 in memory of renowned Malayalam poet and lyricist ONV Kurup. It is presented by the ONV Cultural Academy. Earlier the academy had said in a statement, “As per the request of the award committee, the ONV Cultural Academy has decided to subject the ONV Literature award to reconsideration.”
Actor Parvathy led the protests against the awards jury. She had said on Instagram, “If you come at me with the art vs artist debate, let me tell you that for me the humanity of the person creating the art is the only thing I’d choose to look at. I can live without the ‘art’ of those who hollow out lives with absolute impunity,” Parvathy had slammed the jury in a post on her Instagram page.
Back in 2018, popular singer Chinmayi Sripada had publicly alleged that Vairamuthu made her feel uncomfortable at least on two occasions. She was even told “her career will be over”, should she refuse to cooperate.
Vairamuthu had rubbished the allegations on social media. He had said, “It has become fashionable to cast aspersions on those who are popular. In recent times, I have been shamed repeatedly. This is one of them. I dismiss anything other than the truth. The truth will win.”
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