Lux Style Awards say they respect ‘freedom of audience views’ after outrage over Feroze Khan’s nomination
The Lux Style Awards (LSAs) will not be excluding Feroze Khan from their list of nominees despite widespread criticism, including from Oscar winning director Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy.
In a statement released on Wednesday night, the awards said, “The Lux Style Awards submissions are received from artists and channels as part of an open call for entries for consideration in the awards. 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.
“As part of our third party, independent and transparent voting process, which is audited end to end by PricewaterhouseCoopers, LSA cannot participate in short-listing, vetting or excluding any submissions or nominations.”
In a followup statement, the LSAs said they believe in “respecting the freedom and diversity of audience views, and does not regulate or limit engagement (except in cases of content with obscene or inappropriate language) on our social media platforms.”
Their move comes after Obaid Chinoy announced she was returning her Lux Lifetime Achievement Award, which she was awarded in 2012, in protest.
“Lux is a beauty brand that sells soaps to women yet it has chosen to allow the nomination of a man known to have violently abused his ex-wife. Its parent company, Unilever, has a global campaign that says no to domestic violence and advocates against it. The company signed up to the United Nation’s SDGs, including SDG 5 on gender equality,” she wrote, noting that Unilever’s offices in Pakistan do not seem to share the same values.
“In 2012, I was awarded a Lux lifetime achievement award, which I will be sending back to Unilever as the brand and I no longer share the same values. As a society, we must stand together against domestic violence and we must call out those who provide platforms to abusers,“she wrote.
“Unilever and Lux have done a disservice to the awards and to society and it is not ok for them to allow the celebration of abusers.”
Obaid Chinoy was referring to the inclusion of Feroze Khan in the Best TV Actor - Viewer’s Choice for his drama Khuda Aur Mohabbat.
His costar in the drama, Iqra Aziz, has already withdrawn from an upcoming project with him in a show of support for victims of domestic abuse. In her message announcing her decision, she said she stands with Aliza Sultan, Khan’s ex-wife who has accused him of abuse.
Photos of Sultan with bruises started circulating on social media late October along with her emergency room and MLO reports. They were among the documents her legal team submitted to a District East Family Court as well as a report from the Accident and Emergency Department at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre documenting a complaint of assault in November 2020, mentioning “blunt injuries on both arms, [the] back, chest and face”. A “minor nosebleed” was also recorded. The provisional diagnosis read that it was an “assault”.
This caused a stir online as celebrities started to condemn domestic abuse openly and express their support for Sultan. Stars from the entertainment industry such as Mariyam Nafees, Asim Azhar, Osman Khalid Butt, Mansha Pasha, Shae Gill, Ushna Shah, Minal and Aiman Khan and Usman Mukhtar rallied behind Sultan en masse, offering their full support.
Khan then released a statement, denying all abuse allegations levied against him. Calling them “baseless, malicious and untruthful”, he said as a believer of human rights, he has “never knowingly hurt another human being”.
The family court is hearing two cases — one filed by Khan for custody of their two children and another filed by Sultan for maintenance money for the children. The former couple announced their divorce in September and in her announcement, Sultan had accused him of “continuous physical and psychological violence” as well as “infidelity, blackmail and degradation”.