Actor Amala Paul, who starred in Thiruttu Payale 2, directed by Susi Ganesan, has come out in support of filmmaker Leena Manimekalai who recently accused the director of sexually harassing her in 2005.
Amala Paul put out her statement on Twitter. Calling Susi Ganesan "a man who has a twisted set of moral values and utterly low respect for women", Amala said that she could very well imagine the director misbehaving with Leena. Amala went on to detail her experience of working with Susi Ganesan in Thiruttu Payale 2. Calling it a "mentally fatiguing experience", Amala said that despite being the leading actor for the film, she was subjected to "double meaning talks, misrepresented offers, and unchivalrous bodily contacts."
The actor went on to applaud Leena for taking on Susi Ganesan on a public platform and added that with the increase in the number of women in the workforce, such incidents were becoming more and more common in all industries. She also said that men like Susi Ganesan had different standards for the women in their family and those who worked with them. Amala did not forget to add that sexual harassment should be curbed in the service and unorganised sectors, too.
She further urged the judiciary and the government to come up with a system to address the issue.
In her Facebook post, Leena had said that Susi Ganesan had offered to drop her at her house after an interview at a TV studio in Chennai. However, the director had allegedly turned on the central lock in his car and forced her to go to his house. Recounting the harrowing incident, Leena said that Susi Ganesan had taken her phone, switched it off and thrown it away. It was only after she threatened to harm herself with her pocket knife that he relented, she wrote.
Following Leena's allegation, Susi Ganesan filed a criminal defamation case against her and also attempted to slut-shame her.
Responding to Amala Paul's statement, Leena Manimekalai told TNM that the former's words give her strength and shows what sort of person Susi Ganesan is.
"I must first thank Amala Paul for deciding to speak up now, for supporting me and the Me too movement. Her words give me strength. Following my story, Susi Ganesan has gone about character assassinating and harassing me to ensure that no other survivor comes out. Despite that, if Amala has spoken, it exposes the kind of person Susi Ganesan is. For a survivor, people discrediting their story is alarming. But Amala has shared her experience now and she acted in his latest film too. I knew there were other women who he harassed but didn't know she was one of them. Her story will definitely give courage to other women," she said.