A day after ‘Hindu Tamil’ published an article in praise of Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu, the newspaper, part of The Hindu Group, expressed regret. The development comes after the newspaper was called out by many on social media, including singer Chinmayi Sripaada, who along with multiple women, have accused Vairamuthu of sexual harassment.
The article, published on the poet's birthday, waxed eloquent on Vairamuthu and his works over the years, while failing to reference the MeToo movement, which encouraged multiple women to come forward and call out the men who had abused and harassed them, especially those in positions of power and influence.
Acknowledging the backlash that the article had caused, the Tamil daily published an account titled ‘An explanation and regret’. On Monday, Malini Parthasarathy, co-chair of The Hindu Publishing Group and Director of Editorial Strategy at the newspaper, tweeted in response to Chinmayi and agreed that the article was a ‘mistake’.
I have been dreading opening my timeline today. It is the birthday of the molester I outed. The Hindu Tamizh had a huge article praising him to the skies.— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) July 13, 2020
And I get tagged in Birthday Wishes to my molester.
This is a sick society and sick people.
On Tuesday, the newspaper’s editor wrote, “Readers know that Hindu Tamil is among the media organisations that helped intensify the Me Too movement. In addition to highlighting issues against women through news and articles, our readers also know that we continue to raise our voice against it. The accusations against Vairamuthu are not an exception to this.”
“Since its inception, Hindu Tamil has customarily spoken about the contribution of Tamil personas and their contribution to Tamil on important occasions in their lives,” wrote the editor.
The newspaper listed its profiles of personalities in recent times and stated, “With regard to Vairamuthu too, we published articles in consideration of the occasion. We did this with the understanding that speaking about one's artistic contribution does not absolve him of the accusations against him. Nevertheless, we understand and respect the criticism that accusations about the life of a person should not be separated from the accomplishments in their public life.”
“Though there are no ulterior motives, we express heartfelt regret for anybody who may have been offended by the publication of this article,” the publication said.
Since the Me Too movement in October 2018, many women who had been associated with Vairamuthu through the music industry or at the hostel run by him, have accused him of sexual harassment, both publicly and anonymously. Vairamuthu denied the allegations and said he would sue the women for defamation.