Osman Khalid Butt’s performance at the LSAs came with a condition — Feroze Khan would not be present
Osman Khalid Butt is known for being an ally when it comes to female empowerment and he openly takes a stand against related issues but seeing him onstage at the Lux Style Awards struck the wrong chord with some netizens. They were not okay with celebrities performing at an award show that rewarded an alleged abuser. The actor faced a lot of backlash and decided to speak up and make his stance clear.
On Monday, he shared a long note on Twitter in response, explaining what happened. He said that he was contacted a week before the awards and invited to pay tribute to Nazia Hassan, who was awarded the Changemaker Award posthumously, and to co-host a segment. This was before nominations had been announced. “My only reservation — which I made clear before agreeing — was that I could not attend, let alone perform at the ceremony if Feroze [Khan] was present there (which has absolutely nothing to do with his acting prowess, and everything to do with the very serious allegations levied by his ex-wife), and I was assured that he would not. That commitment was honored,” he wrote.
The list of final nominations was released two days before the event. Butt said he tried his best to ensure his hosting segment was free of any controversial nominations. The Ehd-e-Wafa actor said it was an honour and privilege to perform the dance tribute. “It is unfortunate that that moment was eclipsed by controversy. I have advocated for causes I believe in for more than a decade, fought battles that have been detrimental to my career in this industry without fear (and at times without advertisement) — and I will continue to raise my voice: feminism is not a brand I wear, it is ingrained in my very being,” he added.
Addressing the backlash, he wrote, “It has been incredibly demoralising reading some of the posts on the cesspool that is social media, peppered with lies calling me out for ‘celebrating and cheering on abusers’ (?!), labelling me a ‘bika hua’ [sellout] ‘selective activist/hypocrite’ who raises his voice for ‘clout’. (Someone please let me know how I have benefitted from this ‘clout’). But then I remind myself that I don’t do what I do for your or anyone’s validation. However, one part of your condemnation I fully endorse: do not put anyone up on a pedestal.”
The Chupke Chupke actor said that there is a bigger debate to be had here about how the industry is reflective of the culture it’s surrounded by, about the expectation for vocal artists to “throw away opportunities” in the wake of controversy and about how to bring about real, “actionable change”. He also reminded his followers that the award they’re so angry about was chosen by members of the same society, as confirmed by the LSAs as well in their statement.
“And that’s a cold, hard fact — but social media is definitely not the place for any nuanced conversation with its culture of misdirected hate,” he said, thanking all those who did not waver in their faith in him. “Thank you to my peers and supporters who have faith in my convictions and intentions, and didn’t jump the gun on making judgements without knowing the situation.”