Veteran actor Radha Ravi faced the ire of celebrities from the South film industry and Bollywood for his misogynist comments against Nayanthara. The actress slammed him for being a 'misogynist role model' and called his comments a 'cheap popularity tactic' while the former claimed that they were ‘misinterpreted.’
Radha Ravi at the trailer launch of Nayanthara’s film ‘Kolayuthir Kaalam’ (in her absence) on Saturday, said, “Nayanthara acts as a ghost, and then she goes on to act as Sita as well. She acts as Sita! Earlier, to play the role of a goddess, they would look for [someone like] KR Vijaya. Now, anyone can be cast to play a goddess. They can cast someone who you want to pray to when you look at them, they can also cast someone you want to call towards you when you see them!”
While stars galore fumed at his comment, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) suspended him for his comments.
In her statement, Nayanthara said she rarely issues public statements but had to do so, in this case, to ‘champion the cause of women who bear the brunt of male insensitivities and sexism.’ The actress started by thanking DMK President MK Stalin for the party’s decision.
The 'Viswasam' star slammed Radha Ravi for his comments by reminding him he had also taken birth from a woman. She expressed shock at such ‘male chauvinistic speeches’ being cheered on by the audiences and expressed empathy with the women of such families and those who've been at a receiving end of such misogyny and denigrating jokes.
Calling him a 'misogynist role-model', Nayanthara stated that 'actors like him they tend to rely on cheap popularity tactics in order to grab some limelight' when they become 'irrelevant.' She concluded by asking the South Indian Artistes’ Association when the Internal Complaints Committee would be set up and when internal inquiry as per Vishakha Guidelines would be commenced.
Here’s Nayanthara’s full statement:
“I rarely issue public statements, as I have always allowed my professional work to speak for itself. However desperate times mandate desperate measures. So today, I am compelled to issue a detailed statement to clarify my own position and also to champion the cause of women who bear the brunt of male insensitivities and sexism.
First and foremost it my bounden duty to place on record my sincerest thanks and deepest appreciation to the president of DMK Thiru MK Stalin for swiftly taking action against misogynistic speeches of Thiru Radha Ravi. My sincere thanks to you sir.
At the outset, I would like to remind Radha Ravi and the likes of misogynists like him that they were also given birth by a woman. By demeaning the status of women and passing sexist remarks these retarded men get a feeling of machismo. I feel terribly sorry for the way they treat women in an opinionated way and my empathy remains with all the women who live in the families of these 'macho' men.
As an actor of considerable seniority and work experience, Mr.Radha Ravi should have led the younger generation by example, instead, he has chosen to take up the role of a misogynist 'role-model'.
These are troubled times for women, as women are establishing themselves predominantly in every field of public life and asserting their due place in the era of meritocracy. When actors like Mr. Radha Ravi fall out of business and become irrelevant they tend to rely on cheap popularity tactics in order to grab some limelight.
What remains ghastly shocking about his male chauvinistic speeches are that he never ceases to get applause and laughs from some members of the audience. As long as the audience encourage sexist remarks, speakers like Mr Radha Ravi will continue to thrive on misogyny and cracking of denigrating jokes against women. I strongly urge well intentioned citizens and my beloved fans to deeply discourage the behaviour of the likes of Mr Radha Ravi. Not withstanding the aforesaid advisory, through this statement I would like to strongly register my condemnation and protest against the derogatory speeches made by Mr Radha Ravi against women and children in general and me in specific.
God has been amply kind in giving me wonderful professional opportunities and the affectionate movie-goers of Tamil Nadu have amply rewarded me for my good performances. Irrespective of all negative remarks and aspersions cast upon me, I shall continue to take up the multifaceted role of Sita, ghost, Goddess, friend, wife, lover, so on and so forth with the solemn intention of providing maximum entertainment to my fans.
Lastly, my humble question to the South Indian Artistes’ Association (Nadigar Sangam):- Will you set up the Internal Complaints Committee as per the hon’ble Supreme Court’s dictum and commence an internal inquiry as per Vishakha Guidelines???
Once again, thanking all the good hearts that have stood by me yet again supporting me through this little phase of negativity.”
Meanwhile, in an interview following the controversy, Radha Ravi said the actress is his ‘good friend’ and he’d apologise to her if ‘she is hurt’. He added that his statements were ‘misinterpreted.’
Nayanthara's rumoured boyfriend, filmmaker Vignesh Shivan, expressed his displeasure in no kind words.
Earlier, from Kamal Haasan to Taapsee Pannu, many stars had expressed disgust over the comments.
Haasan said at a media interaction, “Being an actor himself, he shouldn’t have degraded a fellow actress. It’s very disappointing because it’s a prime duty even for an ordinary man to treat women with respect. Hope concern people condemn him.”
Here’s what the other stars had tweeted in condemnation of Radha Ravi.
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