Actor Divya Gopinath, who accused her colleague Alencier of sexual harassment, has finally found some closure. It was in October last year that Divya had come out with an emotional Facebook video after the blog she had written anonymously before that was questioned and ridiculed.
"When a woman decides to share her experience, and without naming herself, it is sad that people come forward to abuse her and call her a fraud,” she had said in the video. In the blog, Divya had mentioned several instances of Alencier sexually harassing her in the sets of Aabhaasam in which they both had acted.
Speaking to TNM, Divya says, “Even before I put out the video, he had apologised to me personally for his behaviour. But after that, I heard about him misbehaving with other artistes in other film sets. That’s when I decided to come out about the incident."
It took him four months and a newspaper article, but Alencier finally publicly apologised to Divya, and all the other actors who were hurt by his behaviour. He made his public apology through Kochi Times, the same paper where Divya had, a day before, asked for one, four months after naming him as part of Me Too.
Alencier said to Times of India, “After Divya’s interview was published, I spoke to her. Our conversation was a friendly one and she reiterated that she needs a public apology and only that would bring closure to the controversy. I too felt I need to do this. Divya asked for the apology through Kochi Times. Hence, I am apologising publicly in this space."
Divya says that she is happy that it could end in this way. “He made the public apology through the paper. He had called me too when my interview with the paper, asking for the apology, came out. I had wanted a video of his apology, but this is fine, now that he has spoken to the paper,” she says.
She wants to thank all those who had been with her through the ordeal – the Women in Cinema Collective, Justice Hema (who heads the Justice Hema Commission) and others. The Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA), to which Divya made a complaint four months ago, had told her that they haven’t received the same.
“About a week ago, I met Mohanlal sir (who is the president of AMMA) and he said he would speak to Alencier,” Divya says. But in his interview to TOI, Alencier says he had not heard from AMMA about the incident.
Alencier had become a quick favourite of Malayalam movie-goers ever since his brilliant performances in films directed by Rajeev Ravi, Dileesh Pothen and others. He had also been an activist, reacting to social issues in his own unique ways, protesting with street plays and performances. So, Kerala was shocked to hear of such behaviour coming from an artiste and person like him.
Divya who was seen in a prominent role in the critically acclaimed film Ayaal Sassi and later in Aabhaasam, is now acting in Aashiq Abu’s Virus as a hospital staff. She is also a theatre actor and was seen playing the title character in Chandradasan’s Shakuntalam