The Lux Style Awards (LSAs) have sparked great controversy this year and celebrities have found themselves in the midst of it because of their mere presence at the event. Mariyam Nafees is one of the actors facing backlash for attending but she refuses to sit back and let her activism be questioned because of it. The Munafiq actor defended herself and said she was simply doing her job.
On Monday, she shared a note on Instagram captioned, “Will continue to fight the good fight” and turned off the comments. In it, she posed a series of questions for fans, “I refuse to let my activism be called into question because did you see me interview and abuser or harasser? Did you see me in the same frame as them? Did you see me cheer for them?” she asked. “I did not and do not endorse any of the things I’m being accused of. My stance does not and will not change. I was there to do my job!”
The Kuch Na Kaho actor said she has always “gone above and beyond” to raise her voice against abuse and harassment. “You will always, ALWAYS find me standing by the victims,” she concluded.
Recently, actor Osman Khalid Butt also penned a long note to explain his attendance at the event and stood by his decision. He felt honoured to present a posthumous award to iconic singer Nazia Hassan but felt disturbed by the consequences. “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’).”
Butt raised some thought provoking points, one of them being as to whether celebrities are to “throw away opportunities” in the wake of controversy. He also reminded netizens that the nomination that they were so pressed over was voted on by members of the same society, indicating that a greater problem was at hand.
The LSAs were subject to criticism after the release of their nomination list, posted a few days prior to the show. Actor Feroze Khan, who was recently accused of domestic abuse by his former spouse Aliza Sultan, was included under the best actor category. Celebrities and netizens called out the award show for rewarding abusers and filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy returned her award in protest. Designer Maheen Khan followed suit after the show. The official LSA statement responded to raised concerns and said, “All shortlisted nominations, for the Viewer’s Choice Category of the LSA 2022 are a result of exclusive viewer voting without any intervention by the Awards.”