Vijay Babu booked for rape; breaks law by naming survivor
Malayalam actor-producer Vijay Babu was charged with rape a few days ago. Ever since he was booked, Babu had been absconding. But on Tuesday (April 26), he made an appearance. Starting a Facebook Live, Babu tried to present his stand but in doing so broke the law by naming the woman who has filed the complaint against him. Trigger warning: Mentions of sexual assault.
A young actor brought the charges against Babu on April 22 in Ernakulam, Kerala. She alleged that the actor raped her on multiple occasions throughout April, after intoxicating her. She has gone through medical tests too. Ernakulam City Commissioner's office then filed cases against Babu under sections 376 (sexual assault), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
"I respect the law of the land but here I'm the victim and my name has come out. So why shouldn't the other party's name come out too," Babu said in the video. He claimed the woman began messaging him last year, after which they met in March. Babu maintained she was cast in his movie after auditioning and for no other reason.
Without mentioning anything that happened in April, Babu claimed he can share hundreds of screenshots of messages to prove his innocence. Not only that, he threatened to file a counter case of defamation. "Let this be a break to Me Too," Babu said, referring to the social movement that has enabled countless women to speak up against sexual perpetrators in the workplace.
Responding to Babu's video, the Women in Cinema Collective slammed him for shaming and naming the survivor. "Yet another shocking allegation of sexual harassment...in the Malayalam film industry is now public. While committees come and go, more such incidents continue to happen," it said.
Following Babu's live post, the survivor elaborated on what happened in a post under the Facebook group, Women Against Sexual Harassment. "[Babu] behaved like my savior for my personal and professional problems but, under the guise, has sexually exploited me," she wrote. Apart from raping her, Babu allegedly also assaulted her physically. He recorded her nude video and threatened her life, the survivor said.
As far as finding Babu is concerned, reports suggest the Ernakulam South Police has sent out a lookout notice and a search has begun outside Kerala. Notably, a producer had brought assault allegations against the Philips and the Monkey Pen actor in 2017. The complaint was withdrawn later and then also, Babu had claimed innocence in a video on Facebook Live.