By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | April 10, 2018
It’s wonderful to flow with the tide, especially #hashtag for a cause and then not worry about it (or look the other way) when a #MeToo victim has to disrobe (literally) to get people’s attention.
Actress Sri Reddy, from Hyderabad has had to face the worst ever since she went public about her harassment. Sri stripped outside the Telegu Film Chamber of Commerce as a mark of protest; she was protesting against the casting couch in Tollywood and demanding that more roles be given to native Telugu actresses. The next day she was ‘rewarded’ by the Movie Artistes Association (MAA), who banned her and threatened to suspend any member who worked with her. After the ban, came news about her landlord asking her to vacate the house!
In an interview with India Today, yesterday Sri claimed that when she approached MAA, they offered her a settlement, if she did not go to the media. “They were willing to give me crores and crores,” she said adding, they were not willing to incorporate any changes. “I did not do it only for myself, I did it for all the girls and women who are facing this problem,” she said.
Sri may have got her manner of protest wrong, but then again, if it were say an Alyssa Milano, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd or even an Uma Thurman (all who hash-tagged #MeToo), doing what Sri did, the Indian media would have had the story on the front page, and all actors here flowing with the tide, with a Hashtag for solidarity!
But then, this here is Sri Reddy; why would anyone stand up for her? But then again, what if the woman persists with her fight and brings down the Telugu industry? Will you all then pull down your #MeToo tags from Social Media as a sign of respect?
Wake up girls, and all the guys who hash-tagged #MeToo! Sri may be a lone voice crying out for justice, but I’m sure there are many more, even in Bollywood, who have faced torture because of the ‘casting couch’. Let not the couch, or pedigree, decide your talent, and let not those in ‘power’ think they can get away by doing whatever they want.
Here is food for thought: In October 2017, Harvey Weinstein was dismissed from his company and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences following sexual abuse allegations against him, which actually started the Hashtag #MeToo.
Here’s some more food (for thought): Actress Shweta Basu Prasad was vilified after she was ‘caught’ in a hotel in (yes) Hyderabad with some businessmen. But the ‘businessmen’ who paid for sex and their business… no one ever heard of, even four years after the event that scarred the girl.
Will we ever hear the names of people in MAA who have banned Sri Reddy?