At a press conference on Monday, actors Radha Ravi and Thiyagarajan, who have been accused of sexual misconduct in the #MeToo movement, denied the allegations made against them.
Actor Thiyagarajan said, “The girl [a photographer] who accused me had said that the incident happened in Chennai; the shoot of Ponnar Shankar actually happened in Perambalur. We were filming a difficult sequence where we shot from 4 pm till the next day without proper sleep. In that case, how would I have been able to knock on her door at 2 am and 4 am? Due to such fake accusations, the reputation I have earned over the years is now in question.”
MeToo is a very good movement where victims can get justice, he added. “It is not fair to misuse it. If a single person misuses it, then the entire movement will be tainted. I’m going to file a defamation suit and this will be a lesson to all those who have done so.”
Actor Radha Ravi said, “We used to make jokes once, but now we are hesitant to even talk. There are people in the dubbing union who want to defame me. There is no safety for men in the society. We have to look for the women who accused us. Don’t they feel ashamed about this? I was expecting that it [#MeToo] would end at some point, but it continues. Women who accuse us will never complain against leading stars because of the fear of missing out on opportunities. Such crimes will never happen without the consent of the women. Prepare an MoU for heroines.”
The actor added that if the allegations continued, “we have to go back to theater and street play days where men have to act as women. If this is encouraged, it will lead to blackmail; they might blackmail the producers, higher authorities and even the court demanding favourable judgement.”
Addressing Chinmayi’s accusations, he said: “She is a good person; I pity her because she’s doing this at someone’s behest.” Radha Ravi then wondered why Chinmayi invited Vairamuthu to her wedding. He said: “When there is a validity for agreements and products, there should be a validity for complaints too.”
The actor also spoke to journalists and told them not to make a business of covering news related to the movement. “The media and the film fraternity share a good relationship. We even made Sarath Kumar apologise to the media when warranted. Don’t humiliate people. You must support and help us. Instead of wasting time on #MeToo, focus on corruption.”
Radha Ravi then asked the lawyers to not encourage such accusations, and reiterated support for actor-producer Thiagarajan and actor Arjun. “They too have their own family and their children, and are famous artistes. Don’t humiliate them.”