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Feel ‘unsafe’ due to director’s harassment, says poet-filmmaker

Author-filmmaker Leena Manimekalai said on Sunday that she was compelled to put it out publicly that she feels “unsafe” because of continued harassment by film director Susi Ganesan, whom she has accused of sexual misconduct in during the #MeToo movement in 2018.

Feel ‘unsafe’ due to director’s harassment, says poet-filmmaker
Leena Manimekalai


Actor Amala Paul, who had worked with Ganesan in his 2017 crime thriller “Thiruttu Payale 2”, had supported Manimekalai and also levelled accusations against the filmmaker for subjecting her to “double-meaning talks, misrepresented offers and unchivalrous bodily contacts” the same year.

In her statement posted on social media, Manimekalai wrote how Ganesan had tried to silence every voice that came out in her support, including actor Siddharth. She wrote that Ganesan has been targeting her, first through a defamation case and later with an attempt to impound her passport.

“My sexual harasser Susi Ganesan first threatened actor Siddharth for supporting my #metoo tweet, then both him and his wife threatened actor Amala Paul when she tweeted about his predatory behaviour. Then he filed a defamation case. And followed it up with the gross misuse of criminal justice system to impound my passport.

“Then he wrote to my Canadian University administration and professors to cancel my student visa status. Now he harasses journalists who cover the news and news editors who retweet my tweets (sic),” Manimekalai said in her statement.

The author, who has five published poetry anthologies under her name, said her family is concerned for her safety, fearing that Ganesan might harm her. “My mother frantically calls me every hour, being scared that he can harm me physically as all his tools are running out. I am feeling very unsafe and If something untoward happens to me, I declare here in open that it will be his doing (sic),” she added in the statement.

Ganesan had lodged a complaint against Manimekalai, alleging that she committed an offence of defamation under IPC section 500 by social media posts against him during the #MeToo movement that tarnished his reputation in the eyes of the general public. However, on December 3, the Madras High Court set aside the order of the Regional Passport Authority impounding her passport and instructed that the travel documents be returned within a week.

Justice M Dhandapani directed Manimekalai to appear before a lower court, where a defamation case is pending against her, and cooperate to complete the trial.

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