This is Innocent. Yes. He is a Malayalam actor, CPI(M) Lok Sabha member, and the president of AMMA, or the Association of Malayalam Movies Artistes, which in recent months has proven itself to be an outdated, old-boy’s club that women everywhere should have as little to do with as possible. Soon after the case of the Malayalam actor who was abducted and assaulted, they convened a meeting to say that women actors should never travel alone anywhere ever. More recently, they refused to take a hard stand on the same case and the involvement of prominent actor Dileep in it, saying both actors were AMMA’s children.
Yesterday, the president of AMMA, Innocent, held a press conference to deny rumours that he was stepping down from his post. At that conference, he said, “The Malayalam film industry is clean now and no such thing as casting couch exists in the industry…It is not like the yesteryears. The situation today is such that if there is any bad behaviour towards any women, the media will know immediately. But if the woman is bad, maybe they will go to bed”.
The statements obviously show such a woeful ignorance about the realities of the Malayalam film industry, and feel like something only a man with no idea about what women face on the daily could say. His words also reveal the judgement and wearyingly old negative stereotypes implied in the usage of the words “bad woman” who sleep around (with whom, by the way, and are they bad too?).
The amazing Women in Cinema Collective, a group of women including Manju Warrier, Parvathy, Anjali Menon and Bhavana, who have come together to deal with sexism and women’s issues within the Malayalam film fraternity, denounced his words on Facebook, saying that casting couches, power structures and imbalances and the exploitation of women, particularly newcomers, are all still rampant in the Malayalam film industry.
As The News Minute reports, Bindu Krishna, state president of the Mahila Congress, said that Innocent’s remarks were a shame and an insult, and show just how untenable the AMMA really is. She also said that the AMMA needs to be disbanded, which is an idea we agree with 100 percent.