The internet was rocked last week when allegations of rape, sexual assault and molestation by victims in different industries were brought to light to further buttress the need for the #MeToo trends and protests. And sadly, the Nollywood industry wasn’t left out.
On Wednesday, Victor Okpala, a Nollywood director was accused of rape by an upcoming actor, Oshevire Divine.
In an already deleted Instagram post, Divine shared screenshots of the conversation she had with the filmmaker in which he asked for sex to get roles in his upcoming movies. The caption read:
“I was going to keep quiet about this..but why should I?this isn’t a normal thing and shouldn’t be considered as a normal act at all”, Divine wrote. “This is a chat between me and a Nollywood movie producer&director.I have to voice out on this matter..this is wrecking the image of Nollywood. Check my last slide to see.
“The monologue challenge I wanted to participate in he asked to subscribe to his channel,watch one of his movies then send a proof.So i did according to the guidelines he posted and sent the proof…he replied👆🏽he literally told me that talent is not enough and indirectly said that I’d have to sacrifice my body for me to make it into Nollywood.I don’t know how many other girls he must have deceived like this but this isn’t fair and we shouldn’t keep quiet about this.This happened yesterday,this needs to stop”.
Following this, another ace Nigerian movie director, Lancelot Imasuen, was accused by Sylvia on a movie industry WhatsApp group called “Filmic.” According to actor Sylvia Oluchi, Lancelot groped her during a film shoot in 2008.
Sylvia wrote: “When we were filming Bent Arrows back in 2008 in Abuja. You told be to come to your room in the hotel after shoot at night (we were all camped in the same hotel). You made some moves, when I refused, you physically pinned me to the bed and shoved your tongue down my mouth while squeezing my boobs.”
Sylvia confirmed her stories to be true in a phone conversation with Pulse Nigeria, while Lancelot had this to say about the allegations:
“It is still a private matter so I am not in a position to make a statement. The group chat where the accusation was made is a private one and the group’s admins have set up a committee to investigate the allegation, ” said Imasuen. “So, while I am surprised as anybody else- it is from 13 years ago, I have been advised to be quiet. It is an industry thing for now and cannot be made public.“
Victor Okpala Accused of sexual assault Again
Two days after he was first accused, another victim (whose identity is being protected,) shared her story on Lala Akindoju’s Instagram account in a video detailing how she came in contact with the director while shooting on a movie set, and how he allegedly raped her when she declined his sexual advances. An act, which she said shattered her deeply.
“So I was rehearsing lines with one of my colleagues and one of his boys came to call me. And I went up to the room, he told me to sit down. He was on the bed with his laptop in his hands and he asked how far I wanted to go in the industry. I told him ‘very far’. I have big dreams.
He said ‘But you know you have to work very hard for that. You know you won’t get that on a platter of gold. You have to sacrifice something to get something’. ‘What do you mean sir?’ Were the exact words I said. He said ‘You are an adult right’? I told him, ‘Sir I don’t understand what you are saying but if I am getting the picture right, you are talking about sexual activity…”
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Seun Ajayi confirms sexual assault happens in the industry
Following the accusations, different actors such as Timini Egbuson, Nene Nwayo (who once spoke about how she gets asked for sex for movie roles in an interview with BBC), and Seun Ajayi all took to their respective social media platforms to corroborate the stories and allegations of the many sexual harassment and assaults going on in the movie industry.
According to Seun Ajayi, he has witnessed it happen live on set and spoke immediately to the guilty party, who didn’t stop harassing his lady colleague until he got a notice from her lawyer.
“Many times, I will see male colleagues harass ladies on set”, Ajayi said. “There was one time I was on set, it was so bad. This guy was constantly commenting on this girl’s bum and groping her. Everybody told him to stop. I told him to stop, he didn’t until he was officially written by the girl’s lawyer”.
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So far, these are the top allegations made and I don’t think we have heard the last of it yet. Stay tuned to Cinema Shed and turn on post notifications so that you’ll get notified whenever we update this post or publish other posts regarding the many sexual assaults, harassment, and rape that thas plagued this industry even before its inception.