Called out for bragging about having sexually harassed women on buses, actor Saravanan attempted damage control on Monday's episode of Bigg Boss Tamil, claiming that he made his controversial admission over the weekend intending it to be a cautionary tale. "No one should commit the same mistake I did . If you do that there is punishment for sure. I raised my hand when Kamal (Haasan) sir asked the question only to reiterate that no one should do that," Saravanan said on Monday. Kamal Haasan, who hosts the show and has been criticised for his response to Saravanan's flippant confession of molestation, has not commented so far.
Over the weekend, Saravanan boasted about taking buses in college with the sole purpose of groping female passengers. In an interaction with a live audience, Kamal Haasan took on contestant Meera Mithun's allegation that fellow Bigg Boss housemate Cheran had manhandled her during a task; Kamal Haasan's explanation was this - that inadvertent pushing happens all the time, for instance, on a bus; people don't take buses just so they can molest women, he said. Instantly, Saravanan raised his hand; he had done exactly this when he was a college student, he claimed proudly. The audience cheered and clapped; Mr Haasan responded with a dialogue from his film Guna - Avar adhaiyum thandi punidham aayitaar," or "He (Saravanan) has gone beyond all that and is now become pure and holy."
Singer Chinmayi Sripaada, a prominent voice in the #MeToo movement, led the social media uproar that followed. "A Tamil channel aired a man proudly proclaiming he used the Public Bus Transport system to molest/grope women - to cheers from the audience. And this is a joke. To the audience. To the women clapping. To the molester. Damn," she tweeted.
A Tamil channel aired a man proudly proclaiming he used the Public Bus Transport system to molest/grope women - to cheers from the audience.— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) July 27, 2019
And this is a joke. To the audience. To the women clapping. To the molester.
Chinmayi Sripaada, who called out leading poet-lyricist Vairamuthu for alleged sexual misconduct, has been attacked on Twitter after Saravanan's apology by men defending him.
Kamal Haasan has hosted all three seasons of Bigg Boss Tamil. Last year, his comments on the #MeToo movement erred on the side of caution; only "the accused should respond; if all respond, it could be wrong," he said last year, news agency PTI reported. He also said that if women "say their grievances in a fair manner, there is no harm in that."