Three YouTubers from Chennai who ran a YouTube channel were arrested after a video of theirs featured a woman talking about sex and alcohol. The Chennai police termed such interviews of women “indecent acts” and warned of criminal action over such activities.
Police have booked the three on charges of obscenity in public places, insulting the modesty of women and criminal intimidation, among others.
The very popular Tamil YouTube channel ‘Chennai Talks’ has at least 200 videos which are all in the format of vox-pop where the host interviews random people. The videos are mostly a collection of public opinion over various issues: PUB-G ban, wine shop lockdown, and movie reviews.
The reason for the arrest– a nearly three-minute video that had gone viral and features a woman casually talking about her sexuality.
A police official told The New Indian Express that the action was taken following complaint filed by a woman who claimed that she was threatened by the host and cameraman on Monday when she questioned their activities at Elliots Beach. The officer, however, did not explain what is illegal about the video.
Police say they arrested Dinesh (31), the owner of the channel; VJ Asen Badshah (23); and cameraperson Ajay Babu (24), based on complaints from people. The charges against them are of public obscenity and sexual harassment.
The YouTubers have been booked under sections 294(b) (sings recites utters any obscene song ballad or words in public), 354(b) (assault or use of criminal force to women with intent to disrobe), 509 (Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any words, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound), 506(ii) (criminal intimidation), and section 4 of Tamil Nadu prohibition of women harassment act (penalty for harassment to women).
Police has also confiscated YouTubers’ equipment including a microphone, a camera and four smartphones. The accused have now been remanded to judicial custody.
“We received a tipoff from a fisherwoman at the beach that such videos were being shot there and people were being asked uncomfortable questions. Based on this tipoff, Shastri Nagar Sub Inspector Murugan and Inspector Shanmugasundaram went to the beach where they found the men with microphones and camera. When they were questioned, two of the men said that it was a prank show and even abused the public who tried to intervene,” an officer from the Shastri Nagar PS told The News Minute.
The woman in the video, which has now been removed from the channel, has said that she filed a complaint against the YouTubers. After the video went viral, the woman said several viewers abused and slut-shaming her. She said that the YouTubers had promised to disable the comments, but they didn’t. The woman also said she was paid Rs 1,500 for the shoot, and said that the video was scripted in order to make it go viral, according to reports.
The News Minute also reported that efforts are being made to pull down the channel which has already received seven crore views on YouTube.