The film jury of the Lux Style Awards 2019 issued a statement early Thursday after several nominees opted out of participating in the award ceremony over the nomination of an alleged harasser.
"Over the past 18 years, the Lux Style Awards have been nurturing Pakistani excellence in fashion, films, music and drama. Over these two decades, the Lux Style Awards nominations have been decided by an unbiased, independent and transparent jury of industry peers and critics," the statement read.
Stating that neither "the Lux Style Awards nor Unilever Pakistan has ever intruded into the independence of the jury's position", the statement added, "In 2019, the Lux Style Awards have been surrounded by dialog around nominees involved in a matter of sexual harassment. The LSA film jury joins the Lux Brand and Unilever Pakistan in condemning all acts of intolerance, discrimination or harassment."
"However, it is also important to emphasise that the decisions of the film jury were based on an assessment of the merits of cinematic work. We do not consider any other extraneous issues related to the personal characters or actions of people associated with that work," it added.
The statement concluded, "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 cases is being decided by Pakistan's judicial system. We have complete faith in the law of the land and believe that justice will prevail."
Model Eman Suleman on March 30 had taken to Instagram to state that she did not "wish to be part of an accolade that is shared with an alleged harasser". In the following days, clothing brand Generation, makeup artist Saima Bargfrede, singer Meesha Shafi, folk rock band The Sketches and makeup artist Fatima Nasir requested to be removed from the nominations list.
Last night, designer Maheen Khan also said she cannot support the awards. "I have said from the outset that the LA, in fact all awards have lost their integrity in more ways than one. More so as a victim of sexual abuse and supporter of the #MeToo movement I cannot in all conscience support the event," she tweeted.