Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu, who was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women during the #MeToo movement, has now stated that he will return the ONV Literary Award.
On Twitter, he shared a video and signed the message, “I will return the #ONVaward award.” He explained the reason for the decision, saying that he does not want to put the jury in an uncomfortable position and therefore chooses to return it.
விருதைத் திருப்பித் தருகிறேன்… # ONVaward https://t.co/1ELyjBgnu6
– வைரமுத்து (@Vairamuthu) May 29, 2021
In the video, Vairamuthu says, “The ONV Cultural Academy has announced that this year the prestigious ONV Kurup Literary Prize will be awarded to me. I was happy and grateful to receive the prize. But through the intervention of a few jealous people, it was announced that the award is being re-examined. I’m afraid this decision might belittle me and the ONV award. I also don’t want to put a group of prominent judges in a difficult spot. I would rather avoid this award in the midst of all the controversy. I want to make one thing clear, I am very honest. Nobody wants to investigate my honesty. In this situation I have made a clear decision. I return the prize to ONV, a cultural academy. I also request that the cash reward of Rs 3 lakh which was part of the award be donated to Kerala CM relief fund. And as a token of my affection and respect for Malayalese, in my individual capacity I will also contribute another Rs 2 lakh to Kerala CM relief fund. Let the brotherhood between Tamil and Malayalam blossom. I also want 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 awarded by the ONV Cultural Academy. Earlier, the academy had said in a statement: “At the request of the prize committee, the ONV Cultuuracademie has decided to reconsider the ONV Literature Prize.”
Actor Parvathy led the protests against the award jury. She had said on Instagram, “If you come to me with the art versus artist debate, let me tell you that for me, the only thing I would look at is the humanity of the person who makes the art. I can live without the ‘art’ of those who erode lives with impunity, ”Parvathy had dismissed the jury in a post on her Instagram page.
In 2018, popular singer Chinmayi Sripada had publicly claimed that Vairamuthu made her feel uncomfortable at least twice. She was even told that “her career is over” should she refuse to cooperate.
Vairamuthu had dismissed the allegations on social media. He had said, “It is fashionable to slander those who are popular. In recent times I have been repeatedly ashamed. This is one of them. I reject everything else but the truth. Truth will win. “