THIRUVANANTHAPURAM/CHENNAI: With the decision to give the fifth ONV literary award to Tamil poet and lyricist Vairamuthu — who has been accused of sexual harassment in the #MeToo campaign — snowballing into a controversy, filmmaker and ONV Cultural Academy president Adoor Gopalakrishnan said the award is given based on literary merit and not by checking anyone’s character.
Vairamuthu has been accused of alleged sexual misconduct by 17 women.
“The recipient is selected by the jury based on literary merit. One can’t check the character while giving an award and the basis of the award is purely literary work,” Adoor said. Despite people in the socio-cultural milieu asking the jury to re-examine the decision, Adoor said no re-evaluation of the decision will be made.
“I think the jury wasn’t aware at the time about such accusations. Even then, why should we re-examine the decision when it is the work that matters. Vairamuthu is an outstanding writer. Anyone can accuse a person of anything but that’s just an allegation. We can’t take any action based on allegations. And it is not morally right as well,” ONV Cultural Academy president said.
Celebrities such as Parvathy Thiruvothu, Geethu Mohandas and Rima Kallingal were among the artists who aired their protests on social media and sought to re-examine the decision. Vairamuthu has been accused of harassment and sexual misconduct by several women, including playback singer Chinmayi Sripaada. Chinmayi, in her personal Instagram account, shared the criticism of the award decision by Parvathy and Rima.
Stalin congratulates Vairamuthu
Chief Minister MK Stalin congratulated lyricist Vairamuthu for receiving the ONV literary award. In his congratulatory message, MK Stalin said that Vairamuthu was the first non-Malayalee poet who was chosen for the prestigious literary award.