The Lux Style Awards have been embroiled in controversy from the minute the nominations were announced. In the beginning, most people had issues over the fact that a lot of deserving people were not included in the nominations. For example, Hamza Ali Abbasi for Parwaaz Hai Junoon and Mohsin Abbas Haider for Meri Guriya.
Fast forward a few weeks the LSAs further landed in hot waters for nominating an alleged harasser.
Model Eman Suleman was the first to withdraw her name from the nominations. Eman, who was nominated for the Best Emerging Talent in the Fashion category, in a short video posted to Instagram, said that though she felt honoured to be nominated, she did “not wish to be part of an accolade that is shared with an alleged harasser.”
Following Eman Suleman, Generation (Achievement in Fashion Design – Pret) and Saima Bargefrede (Best Hair and Makeup Artist) rejected their nominations.
An official statement read, “The two entities have decided to follow Eman Suleman’s footsteps and not attend this year’s ceremony,” adding, “The two brands stand with women who face and fight toxic misogyny, sexism, and sexual harassment in multiple ways in pursuance of their dreams and indeed in their daily lives.”
A few hours later, Meesha Shafi thanked Eman, Generation and Saima for standing up for her and requested for her name and work be removed from the list of nominees. Her song Mein was nominated for the Best Song.
The Sketches, Fatima Nasir and Rubab Ali followed the same path and withdrew their nominations.
The Sufi folk rock band which was nominated in four categories (Best Song, Best Playback Singer, Best Original Soundtrack and Singer Of The Year) said that their reason was based on their values and principles which they will not bend for any award.
Meanwhile, Fatima Nasir nominated for Best Hair and Makeup, also rejected her nomination saying that she stands in solidarity with those who have withdrawn from the awards and that “we need to keep raising our voice against sexual harassment until the industry, and the world, is a safe place for women to work.”
Model Rubbab Ali, nominated for the Best Female Model of the Year, said that she’s sick of casual harassment against women which is why she is supporting those who are raising their voice.
Last but not the least, director Jami threw out the three LSA Awards he’s won on the street outside his house and said that “We stand by our women.”
Following this wave of rejections, Lux issued an official statement saying that “the decisions of the Film Jury were based on an assessment of the merits of the cinematic work,” adding “We do not consider any other extraneous issues related to the personal characters or actions of people associated with that work.”
The statement further said, “The Film Jury of the Lux Style Awards appreciates the sensitivity of the subject and recognises 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.”
While most people have been calling out the LSAs for their neutral stance, some members of the fraternity came forward and defended the awards.
Ahmed Ali Butt, who has been nominated for the Best Actor for his role in Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2, said that an award is a token of appreciation from your fellow peers.
“To degrade an award and 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,” he further said, adding that there are better ways to protest.
Model Iman Aly said that the protest was a childish step.
“Fame and respect should be earned with hard work in time. Not by childish walkouts and social media posts playing judge, jury and executioner,” she wrote on her Instagram.
Shamoon Abbasi also took a dig at Jami for throwing out his award saying, “You don’t disrespect your awards for public attention for a matter that has been resolved.”