Kerala’s popular actor and Member of Parliament Vareed Thekkethala has been criticized by a women activists on Wednesday for saying that “casting couch” does not exist in the film industry of Malayalam, but "if the woman is bad, maybe they will go to bed."
Vareed Thekkethala who is 72 year old to a reported was responding when he said before adding offensive comment that, “The Malayalam film industry is clean now and no such thing in the industry exists as casting couch... It is not like the yesteryear. The situation today is such that if there is any bad behaviour towards any women, the media will know immediately.”
WCC (The Women In Cinema Collective), last month an organisation launched by the women in the Malayalam Film Industry, attacked Mr Innocent in a Facebook post saying, "New artists face several forms of sexual abuse while entering the film industry. Even colleagues like Lakshmi Rai and Parvathy, have spoken openly about casting couch... We cannot accept the statement that the film industry is free from all kinds of sexual exploitation and there should be cautiousness in making statements in public." The WCC is led by actress Manju Warrier.
Later the actor clarify about the Facebook post and what he has said in it, writing, "Some of my comments to the media have been misinterpreted and published in a way that I did not intend. What I intended to say was that the environment for women to work in the film industry has become more women-friendly than before. Association of Malayalam Movie Artists or AMMA will continue to work against all anti-women practices in the industry."
As an independent candidate Mr Innocent was elected to the Parliament with support of the Left in 2014. Mr Innocent is also the president of AMMA, An Umbrella Organisation which includes the all major film artists, including superstars from the Kerala.