The man issued the apology via a video message published on Sri Lankan news platform IBC Tamil. His identity is protected in the video.

Vijay Sethupathi and Sri Lankan mans blurred out face from the Apology Video posted by IBC Tamil CollageL: Screenshot/IBC Tamil
news Controversy Monday, October 26, 2020 - 17:52

About a week since a Twitter user was booked by the Chennai police for issuing rape threats to actor Vijay Sethupathi’s minor daughter on the social media platform, the man, identified to be a Tamil-origin Sri Lankan national, has now issued an apology on video with his identity protected.

In a video message published on IBC Tamil, a Sri Lankan news platform, the man claimed that his job loss due to the pandemic and his anger at the actor for choosing to act in the controversial biopic on Sri Lankan cricketer Muthiah Muralidaran were the reasons behind his unacceptable and criminal behaviour.

Face blurred in the video, the man said, “I’ve never spoken like this in my entire life. The reason behind this was I lost my job due to coronavirus and I was angry at Vijay Sethupathi, like other Sri Lankan Tamils, because he was acting in that movie. I will not repeat this.”

It is not clear if the man is the same Twitter user whose account was suspended by the social media platform for issuing rape threats against Vijay Sethupathi’s daughter. The suspended handle had several abusive and sexually explicit tweets not only about the minor but about many other women in the past.

When TNM contacted the Central Crime Branch about the video, they said, “We’ve also got the video but we have to investigate further. We don’t have his picture so we’re unable to confirm. Socially it may be valid but legally it cannot be taken into account. It may be possible for those in Sri Lanka to trace him easily. We’re progressing as per protocol.”

Like several men who make threats of sexual violence against women and girls and then call their targets ‘sister’ when they are caught, the man in the video too claimed that he considered Vijay Sethupathi’s daughter to be his sister.

“I apologise to the Tamils of the world, Vijay Sethupathi anna, your wife, and your daughter, whom I consider my sister. I have a family and if my face is publicised, my life will be ruined,” he said.

His mother too appeared in the video, appealing on his behalf.

On October 21, the central crime branch of the Chennai police filed a case against the man for issuing rape threats on Twitter. The First Information Report (FIR) was filed under sections 153 (intent to causing riot), 294 (B) (using obscene language in public place) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 67B (transmitting obscene material through the internet) of the Information Technology Act. The next day, the police shared that they had traced the user’s IP address to Sri Lanka.

Watch the full video here:

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