I met Papon a few years back during his tour in US and even spent time talking to him. That was a time I have cherished all the while. I personally found him to be a very genuine down to earth person with no celebrity hangups.
Just came to know of the news of the video that surfaced of him kissing a minor girl. It is very disheartening for everyone who knows Papon, because people who have met him and spend time with him will find it very hard to believe..
I also saw the video posted. I saw the short version on twitter and the long version that Papon himself had put. and here is my thought. I know this must be very difficult for Papon, but it is our responsibility (including Papon’s) to not trivialize what happens to a minor in any context.
The Twitter video only shows the last few seconds and at the end Papon asking to stop the video which is an indication that he realized what happened was wrong and also the guy taking the video asks “Hey whats happening”.
I also saw the video Papon had posted on his Facebook Page and that is a longer video and one can see the setting in which the video was recorded. The question remains why would he post it. And then if he asked to cut it midway, why would be post it along with that scene in it? Even that question can have two sides to it.
I love his music and have seen him once, but that does not mean I know him in any way much to claim his innocence or his action. May be he is not such a person like many people say and may be as he said it was an accidental move and not a sexual assault, but the fact in front of us is that the girl was only 11 years old,
As a society it is our responsibility (including Papon’s) to keep kids safe, even from accidental moves by adults that make them uncomfortable. And for this simple reason I cannot say I stand with Papon even if I wished I could, because it is important for us to discuss this matter further.
We have to discuss not just what happened there, but also the surge of reality shows that make kids vulnerable to celebrities. What happened should not have happened. But I also know that it is Papon’s nature to have that expression of kissing when he likes something and I have seen him do that in our conversation when you say something and he likes it. Like the expression when you say “chooo chweet…”
I am not defending Papon for what happened because the question should not be the intention of the adult but the way it is perceived to a kid and those around. The fact that one person was asking “Hey what is happening” in itself is a reason to not trivialize this.
But I want you all to also think of the Holi festival which is one in which adults are given the free reign to touch even minors and one cannot be sure how many adults take advantage on this opportunity.
While you talk of Papon, the discussion should not stop with Papon, but we should talk even beyond that. We should discuss about the reality TV shows involving minors and festivals like Holi that could potentially make minors vulnerable right in front of the family and still it is considered OK.
But again Papon has to take responsibility of his actions and be ready to meet the consequences because even accidental moves have consequences and since it is a minor, as a society we cannot trivialize it at all.
We should understand that the maximum amount of child abuse happens not from strangers but from people they know. So a reason that the kid was OK is baseless. The world is very different from what we grew up in.
I have been kissed by people other than my parents and sometimes when the kiss was intended for the cheek and I turn, it has landed on my lips, that was quite normal back then and just treated as an accident. But today I will not do that as an adult because I know my accident argument would not hold grounds and nor will I be comfortable if that happens to my kids.
We live in a world where we have to be quite aware and responsible of our every single action, because it is perfectly OK for us to abstain from showing some gestures of love in order to prevent abuses of any form.