“It’s also very important for us to support those who have put everything at risk for their own healing and to help make the workplace safer for all of us,” the WCC said.

Leena ManimekalaiFacebook
Flix #MeToo Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - 11:38

The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) has come out in support of filmmaker Leena Manimekalai, who has been facing travel hurdles due to petitions filed against her by director Susi Ganesan. During the #MeToo movement in 2018, Leena had alleged that Susi Ganesan had sexually harassed her in the past. After Leena came out with her story in 2018, Susi Ganesan slapped a defamation case against her, and then filed petitions to impound her travel documents. In the latest development on September 9, 2021, Leena’s passport was impounded.

This essentially means that Leena is unable to travel abroad, curtailing her livelihood and opportunities. She has missed several invites from overseas universities to screen her films, and has also been unable to go to Canada to pursue her MFA course at York University, which she is studying on full scholarship. In their statement published on their official Facebook page, WCC made these arguments, and asked for the film industry to support her. Read the full statement below.

WCC strongly stands by all the women who came forward in the #metoo movement. They put their lives and livelihoods at high risk to call their sexual perpetrators out. Today, our sister Director Leena Manimekalai is facing an onslaught of harassment for having bravely spoken up about her abuse.

Leena’s latest film "Maadathy" has been invited to be screened and lectured by fifteen Universities across North America including Harvard, Chicago, Colombia and Minnesota through this fall season(2021). She is also doing her Masters in Fine Arts in York University, Canada on full scholarship.

Susi Ganesan, the man she named; who has also been outed by one more person other than Leena, has aggressively filed over 17 petitions in the court against her apart from a criminal defamation suit. In an action still unexplained, her passport has been impounded by the RPO. These pressure tactics are clearly robbing her of her rightful opportunities. This is a far too repeated pattern of how when a woman speaks out about the abuse she was put through, she is further traumatised by diminishing her career prospects and is made to face further harassment that will crush her spirit.

WCC urges members of the film industry to support Leena in these highly trying times. The #metoo movement has empowered many women but it’s also very important for us to support those who have put everything at risk for their own healing and to help make the workplace safer for all of us.

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