Malayalam actor Alencier Ley Lopez is in the eye of a storm after making misogynistic comments during his award acceptance speech at the Kerala State Film Awards ceremony in the capital on Thursday.
Mr. Lopez said that he was tempted by the statuette, modelled on a woman, and demanded that it should be replaced with a statuette that reflected masculine strength.
Soon after the comments were made, social media was flooded with sharp criticism against the actor, including from fellow award winner Shruthi Sharanyam, who won the best director award in the Women/Transgender category. In a Facebook post after the ceremony, she said that it was a shame that such a wretched comment was made at the venue.
Higher Education Minister R. Bindu said that Alencier’s statements were a reflection of his male chauvinistic attitude and criticised the actor for making such irresponsible comments at such a platform. She called for constant awareness programmes to change the mentality that led to such comments.
Minister for Cultural Affairs Saji Cherian also called out the misogynistic statement. Kerala State Women’s Commission chairperson P. Sathidevi condemned Alencier’s comments and said that such attitudes had no place in Kerala’s cultural landscape.
“It is to foreground a feminist perspective that the statuette that is presented for the film awards was modelled after a woman. Instead of viewing this with great pride, he has made insulting remarks, bringing shame to the film fraternity and the State,” she said.
Transgender rights activist and actor Sheetal Shyam also condemned the actor in a Facebook post, and recounted the troubles that she and others had to face from the actor when she co-starred with him in a Malayalam film in 2018.
Some social media posts also made references to the allegations raised by actor Divya Gopinath in 2019, when she called him out for sexual harassment in a film set. The allegations had prompted Mr. Alencier to issue a public apology, and also led to some filmmakers boycotting the actor. A few made comparisons of Alencier’s onstage behaviour to his award-winning role of a misogynistic patriarch in the film ‘Appan’.
However, despite the criticism, Mr. Alencier doubled down on his comments and refused to apologise. He claimed that some people did clap for his comments, which showed that they agreed with him. He maintained that he had just demanded a trophy that looked like a male.