The LSA controversy continues as, amidst nominees pulling out, there are just as many voices coming out in support of the Lux Style Awards. Meanwhile, the Film Jury issues an official statement.
The Lux Style Awards 2019 nominations have ignited some serious, strong reactions, given that an “alleged offender” has been included in the list of film nominees. By now (at the time this article was written), seven people have withdrawn from nominations, the latest name being Best Model nominee Rubab Ali. However, there are artists and industry veterans who have spoken in favour of the LSAs, mentioning that this isn’t how the issue should be dealt with and the platform is not to be blamed for whatever happened.
Referring to Jami, who literally trashed a trophy he won for Moor, Ahmed Ali Butt - who has been nominated in the Best Actor (Film) category for JPNA 2 - shared on his social media, “An award has no worth for anyone except whom it is given to. It’s a token of appreciation from your fellow peers; all the nominees who are elected with you hold that same respect and honor for their craft, yet you are the winner which means they have given you that respect and honor. People have the right to protest and even request not to be nominated if they please to do so, but to degrade an award and to treat it like a piece of garbage is truly sad and uncivilized. This means you have no regard for the art and your fellow peers who gave you the title. There are better ways to protest and let your voice be heard. The matter is already in court and will be dealt by the law. LSA is the oldest running awards we have and has nothing to do with the other thing. Let’s keep it that way by being civilized and respectful. (Still if you want to put it out on the road it’s better to return it to the LSA with dignity).”
Iman Ali wrote on her page, “Our sense of entitlement to quickly judge anyone and jump to conclusions is worrisome, especially in this age of social media. A platform that has made it too easy for some to become a part of a controversy or join a bandwagon and become famous overnight and potentially ruin anyone’s life or body of work in minutes. Fame and respect should be earned with hard work in time not by childish walk-outs and social media posts playing judge, jury and executioner.”
Creative Director and CEO Catwalk Event Management, Frieha Altaf, who has directed the LSAs for 15 years and launched the ‘Mein Bhi’ movement at the awards last year, also spoke up on the subject. She is of the view that instead of the nominees, the alleged harasser should step down.
“In my opinion, if anybody should step down, it’s the alleged harasser, not those who are innocent and oppose him,” she shared on her Twitter handle. “The LSA platform and event is very close to my heart and I will continue to fight, on my turf, for women’s rights and empowerment.”
“The #MeinBhi movement is not a one off,” she said. “The struggle to ensure a safe workplace will be a lifetime effort. My #LSA turf is the LSA show and stage – not the nominations that are done by the independent juries. No one has a say in what the jury decides. But I can state very clearly that if I do #LSA2019, it will reflect every value that I uphold,” she added. “I had every intention of including ‘Mein’ in the show’s flow and was in discussion with Meesha Shafi EVEN before she was nominated and then stepped out.”
Ahsan Khan, who won the Best Actor trophy at LSA 2017 for playing a child molester in Udaari, noted, “The LSAs gave me the award for Best Actor when I played a special role and highlight child abuse, it gave me a platform to talk about the brutal murder of Mishal Khan and it gave me a chance to perform on a special song that highlighted a cause.”
Qurram Hussain (Q) of Josh and designer Munib Nawaz also came out with support for the LSAs, a platform known for acknowledging the best in Fashion, Film, TV and Music.
“I was present at the first LSA as a backstage helper. I’ve seen it grow as an institution. I’ve seen it become the reason for so many people entering the media industry. All of us who are a part of this industry or have been a part of this industry owe this platform a little more respect,” noted Munib Nawaz while Qurram shared, “Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and a walk out, but the LSAs have been a beacon for the Pakistani Arts and Media industry for a long time, and has been acknowledging great Pakistani work. Let’s not sully that… Let’s not jump to conclusions, let the courts decide.”
Yusouf Salahuddin, who’s been a part of the LSAs since its conception, stated, “I have seen great comaraderie among fellow artists, I have also seen small skirmishes based out of competitive streak; jealousy, envy and much more is a part and parcel of the business of show biz. But never have I witnessed it escalate to such ugliness.”
“We must believe in the international law of justice “innocent till proven guilty” and let the due process reveal the truth,” he added.
–This is a developing story
The film jury releases official statement
The LSA Film Jury that has been pointed fingers at for nominating someone who has sexual harassment allegations to his name, issued an official statement in the wake of the issue at hand.
It states that the jury comprises unbiased individuals and neither the Lux Style Awards nor Unilever Pakistan ever intrudes into the independence of the jury’s decision.
“In 2019, the Lux Style Awards have been surrounded by dialog around nominees involved in a matter of alleged sexual harassment,” the statement read. “The LSA Film jury joins the Lux Brand and Unilever Pakistan in condemning all acts of intolerance, discrimination or harassment.”
“However, it is also important to emphasize that the decisions of the Film Jury were based on an assessment of the merits of the cinematic work,” the statement further notes. “We do not consider any other extraneous issues related to the personal characters or actions of people associated with that work. The Film Jury of the Lux Style Awards appreciates the sensitivity of the subject and recognizes the intensity of public sentiment. Nevertheless, it is also important to respect that the case is being decided by Pakistan’s judicial system. We have complete faith in the law of the land and believe that justice will prevail.”