We often hear of stories that both young and established female actresses have been sexually harassed by their colleagues, but most of them choose not to speak on the issue.
There is sexual harassment everywhere not just in Nollywood. Upcoming actresses often complain of being sexually harassed by producers in Nollywood while some others deny the existence of such in the industry.
There is a new twist to the issue of sexual harassment in Nollywood as some have alleged that actresses also harass and sometimes blackmail Nollywood producers.
How true is the issue of sexual harassment in Nollywood? Is sexual harassment in Nollywood a myth or reality? Nigerian movie practitioners speak out in various interviews they granted to the media at different times.
.There's Sexual Harassment Everywhere- TONTO DIKEH, Star Actress
*I learnt all the actors in nollywood has been harassing you sexually?
Laugh loud. That’s such a big lie. Everybody wants something good,it’s not bad but I don’t think that is going to happen"
*Sexual harassment and the industry go hand in hand, what's your opinion?
Sexual harassment and human beings go hand in hand, sexual harassment and movie industry go hand in hand,and sexual harassment and music industry go hand in hand,sexual harassment and dance industry go hand in hand,sexual harassment and government industry go hand in hand. It’s everywhere my brother. It’s everywhere. Let’s not be quick to judge the movie industry that sex and the movie industry go hand in hand. It’s everywhere, among the rich, the average, and the drivers."
No Actress In Nollywood Who Has Not Been Intimately Harassed — CYNTHIA AGHOLOR, Actress
*What is that thing you believe attracts the opposite sex to you?
My eyes, my bosoms and my lips. And some men say they love my dimples too.
*Have those things caused you producers or directors to harass you sexually before?
There is no actress in Nollywood that will say or tell me that she has never been sexually harassed, especially say around 2005. Although, the situation may be slightly different now, then they would put it to you that they wanted to give you a role but they would have to sleep with you.
*Are you talking from experience?
Yes, a popular producer once tried it with me. I blasted him and walked away.
*Who mighty that be?
You don’t expect me to tell now, do you?
You Just Can't Go Through The Industry Without Being Sexually Harassed- COLLETTE ORJI, Top Actress
*There’s always this issue of sexual harassment in the industry. Have you ever encountered such?
" think the answer to that is yes. If somebody tells you they have never faced sexual harassment in the industry, it is either they are lying or they don’t want to open up to the press because you guys may blow it out of proportion. You just can’t go through the industry without being sexually harassed. Nobody really comes to you to harass you but there are things you would realise you are not getting because you are not willing to play some balls. Like me, nobody pushed me around but you know this thing would be like this if you do like that. So, if you are like, I don’t want to do like this, take it and go or you are like, lets do it and see how it goes.'
Female Directors Intimately Harass Actors- KATE HENSHAW, Star Actress
Kate talked to Vanguard about this in 2008 interview:
What is your opinion about sexual harassment does it really exist in Nollywood
"Yes it’s real.
Have you ever been sexually harassed?
"Never, I have never been sexually harassed. I was not harassed for my first job and it’s not now that anybody will come and tell me anything of sort.But the practice is real and it cuts across borders. Let’s be fair to the men as well. I’ve been on location some times where I see the girls troop and dress in a way that could tempt even the devil.The situation is such that they are ready to do anything to get roles. And of course the man has to be somebody that has heart of stone or is dead down the region to be able to resist these set of actresses. I’ve witnessed a situation where a female producer totally embarrassed and harassed a male actor. I will not mention names, that was years ago when I was starting out.
You mean she was out rightly asking for sex?
Yes, she did and this was years ago. I was on set at that time. If you are a self respectable woman, you know you have confidence in yourself and you know that this is what you came for, a job, just pray to God and believe you don’t have to sell your body."
Yes, There's Sexual Harassment In Nollywood- RITA DOMINIC, Top Actress
Rita stated this in an interview in 2007:
*Has sex for roles in Nollywood ever happened to you?
"I have never had such passes but I know it is there. I know such things do occur. But the truth of the matter is whoever demands for that before giving you a role, you have to ask yourself 'do I have the talent? If you don't have the talent and you have sex from now till tomorrow, you are just wasting your time because they won't give you a job. Yes. Sexual harassment does happen and I think it is there because I have heard one or two complaints from girls. But another thing is that you can’t really come out and criticize them because they are adults."
Yes! Sexual Harassment Very Much Exists In Nollywood- MERCY JOHNSON, Star Actress
When asked if she has been a victim of sexual harassment, the Kogi State-born said:
“yes! Such had come my way, but if you sleep around for roles, will you also sleep around to make your fans love your work? You only choose what you want. It only takes God to be successful in this industry.“It’s a matter of choice if the ladies are approached with such. If you feel that your body is cheap and worth the script, then go ahead, but it is an individual thing. If any lady tells you in Nollywood it hasn’t happened to her, it is a cheap lie. Most people are scared of telling the truth, but the truth makes upcoming ones to watch their steps without making mistakes.”
There's Nothing Like Sexual Harassment In Nollywood- ADOKIYE KYRIAN, Actress/Singer
*How would you cope with sexual harassment in the movie industry?
There is nothing like sexual harassment. Don’t let anygirl deceive you. No director, marketer, Producer or film maker would harass anybody sexually. Those girls saying it do so to get noticed by the directors, producers, marketers and the rest of them.And some of them are not even good artists. The only way they thought they could get movie roles is to offer their body. When they get disappointed on account of their own inabilities to put up good performances at auditions, they come out crying that so and so have sexually harassed them. It is the order of the day among some wannabe actresses.But those that are good at what they do get work and would not come out to tell you they have been sexually harassed.
Although there is harassment everywhere, be it in Nollywood, in the offices, even in the music industry. It is the same story everywhere but it hardly what youwould call sexual harassment. When two people fancy each other and decide to go for each other, I don’t think that qualifies as sexual harassment. In fact, I think some girls are the ones harassing the film-makers sexually because they offer themselves to these people because of their lack of talent. If you ask me,I think a lot of girls should be educated on this issue of sexual harassment in Nollywood."
Actresses Sexually Harass Producers- MERCY MACJOE, FAST RISING ACTRESS
Hear her: “To be sincere with you, I don’t know why some girls go around saying this. Presently it is even the girls that go out of their ways to harass the producers. The girls go to them and ask for roles witha promise that they are ready to give the producers ordirectors whatever they want. Most of these girls have nothing to offer, talent wise, and they harass the producers. In fact their slangs to them now is ‘bed or bank’, meaning they would either send money to the producer’s bank account or go to bed with him”.
Only Bad Actors Allege Sexual Harassment- CHICO EJIRO, Star Producer
Do producers and directors demand to sleepwith upcoming actresses beforethey can get the opportunity to act?
"I don’t know why the media is always talking about this. Let me tell you the truth, sexual harassment is everywhere. In journalism, some people who do not know the job have been promoted on thegrounds of their relationship withtheir bosses. In the banks, they also do that. Pinning it on the entertainment scene is what I find amusing. Once, the National Assembly even made a case about banks using their girls to make money.Is it fair that it exists?I can only tell you that when actresses cannot perform, they hinge their non-performance on sexual harassment. A Genevieve Nnaji or Rita Dominic will not tell you of this. I always tell upcoming actresses to make sure they have the talent. Once you are good and can deliver, only a mad producer would drop you."
Producers Harass & Mess Up Desperate Actresses- CHIAMAKA NWOKEUKWU, Fast Rising Actress
In her words:
Actresses" go through lots of challenges. Like,producers wouldwant to go out with you before giving you a role. Sometimes,you might not even get it after they must have messed you up. But they often do that to girls that are desperate to act.
".Producers know when an actress desperately wants to act and they always take advantage of that. I didn't go through such challenges because I wasn't desperate. I started getting roles through auditions and any role I get, I try my best to doit well so it would speak for me. After some time, I stopped auditions, from the job I have done they call me for more jobs."
Sexual Harassment Drove Me Out Of Nollywood- MARY URANTA, Actress
"At a point, sex became a condition for getting movie roles so I just took a walk. There were times when I missed getting roles because I wouldn’t succumb to pressure so I left and did other things including studying at the London School of Arts. But the passionwas so strong I knew I just had to return so, I took time to look for professionals; people who would be interested in my talent and not taking me to bed,” she recalled.
However, the United Nation’s Peace Ambassador declares that sexual harassment is not a big deal today because it is a thing of choice. Hear her:
“It’s a natural thing in the industry;men will always chase women so I don’t think it’s peculiar to Nollywood. It’s the same thing everywhere you go. I think those in the banks and other sectors also get harassed. So, it’s not what I love to discuss.
Definitely, harassment will come but it’s a thing of choice. Movie or no movie, a producer can see you and get attracted to you. Same thing goes for an actor or marketer, so for me, it’s not a story to talk about.”
Nollywood Actresses Sexually Harass & Blackmail Producers For Roles- KEN OKAFOR, Producer
There has been reports by some Nollywood actresses claiming movie producers sexualy harass them, demand to sleep with them before they can get roles in their movies. However a producer, Ken Okafor has spoken out to say the reverse is the case.
According to him,
“When I was shooting my first movie, Dangerous Licence, I got a call from an actress asking me where I was. I told her I was in my hotel room. She said she really wanted to see me but I told her we would see on set the next morning as it was late at night. She insisted that it was an emergency and pleaded with me togive her the address of my hotel. Reluctantly, I gave her the address. I met her at the bar and she was seductively dressed. She said she needed to be in the movie and came to do her own audition in my room. She said she would have MouthAction with me and make my night. I felt pity for her and asked why she was doing this and she said it was the way to rise in the industry. Out of pity, I cast her in my movie and urged her not to let sex become the key to her career. It was quite an awkward moment for me.”
On actresses blackmailing producers in order to get roles.“It is natural and human for a producer to find an actress attractive and ask her out for a date. What I see as sexual assault is when you are forced to accept such. Producers are constantly sexually harassed by actresses but we are always quiet about it. However, I am not denying it's true existence, it happens,” he said.
Sexual Harassment Does Not Exist In Nollywood As Been Painted- NKEM IKE, Fast Rising Actress
Nkem Ike said: “If a producer asks you out, it is your right to walk out on him. It is not as if a gun is pointed to your head. For me, I have not been in such a situation before. But maybe it has to dowith the way I started. Andy Amaechi found me and gave me my first role and it continued from there. Most of the times I played major roles, so maybe that is why I didn’t experience such. I used to say that I have never seen a man or woman who said they used gun to harass him or her in the industry.”
"I have never experienced harassment either. if someone asks you out you simply decline and go your way. Those who think the easiest way toget roles and become a star is trading their bodies should realise that it dies not work in that way, Marketers are out for business and naturally feature those who have market value and help them recoup their value afterwards. Nobody has complained that he or she was harassed at gunpoint. Sexual harassment does not exist in Nollywood the way it is usually painted,”.
Many Ladies in Nollywood Actually Want to Be Sexually Harassed- PEBOH ICE, Fast Rising Actress
Sexual harassment in the industry…Personally, I haven’t been sexually harassed. And first of all, I don’t believe in sexual harassment. There is nothing like harassment when a lady is properly dressed. But when you expose half of your bosoms and your panties are all out, you will get what is due to you. You will be surprised to know how many ladies actually want to be harassed in exchange for fame. Dress the way you want to be addressed."
There's Sexual Harassment In Nollywood- BANKE ADEWUNMI, Upcoming Actress
"There's sexual harassment in the Industry. It's not easy making it without being sexually harassed. Some people think its like trade by barter. It's real. There should bea level playing ground for all without attaching any dirty conditions. People should be allowed to showcase their God-given talents without any hindrance" She said.
Sexual Harassment Is Not Peculiar To The Movie Industry- OMA IYASARA, Upcoming Actress
Some actresses claim they were sexually harassed by directors and producers, are you one of them?
Sexual harassment is everywhere, it is not peculiar to the movie industry. So far, I will say I have been lucky not to go through such anyway. It is how you place yourself that you will be addressed."
I Have Been Sexually Harrassed- HALIMAH ABUBAKAR, Star Actress
When asked if she has been sexually harassed since she started acting, Halima who describes herself as a “simple girl next door” says
“Won’t I be lying if I say nobody has harassed me? I’m a lady. It’s totally untrue when people say they’ve never been harassed.”
On how she has been able go through it–
"It might come in the form of “toasting”. I wasn’t“blocked” now. While some will just tell you to your face. As a woman you have to respect yourself and set boundaries regardless of what people think. Some people think that sleeping with someone will give them what they’re looking for, but it doesn’t. That’s the way I see life. You are not supposed to do anything (engage in a sexual relationship) So what I do is, I look at the person’s face and tell him this is wrong, because I’m sure that aside from me, he will harass another person. The only easy way is to disgrace the person so that he will be shy to do that to the next person."
Actresses Seduce & Harrass Nollywood Producers- DOZIE EBOH, Producer
Some artistes say that before some producers give roles to female actresses, they ask for sex. What do you have to say to this?
" have not done that before. If any girl says film producers ask her to sleep with them, let the girl name the producer or producers. People should remember that producers are human beings. Is it possible for a producer to sleep with every girl that acts on his set? When you watch a film you see over 20 girls. Can one producer sleep with them all? Every industry has its good people and bad people. I thank God I am one of the respected film producers in the country.
We heard of some girls offering their bodies for roles in movies. Has such an incident happened to you?
"Yes, I have had the experience. We have those experiences. There was a time I did an auditioning and after, a girl came to my office to seduce me. You should be a man and know what you want. We do suffer sexual harassment. In fact, producers suffer sexual harassment from women than women suffer from producers."
There's No End To Sexual Harassment In Nollywood- AYOMIDE DAWODU, Fast Rising Actress
BON: What is your opinion in regards to sexual harassment in Nollywood?
AYOMIDE DAWODU: There’s sexual harassment in all industry not just movie industry but its more rampant because where you have both sexes, you will definitely have sexual harassment; it is just a matter of choice.
.BON: Have you been sexually harassed before?
AYOMIDE DAWODU: No, I wouldn’t call that sexual harassment but I have been asked to sleep with a producer but I said no which didn’t change the impression the producer has because he still gave me the script even after saying no."
Compiled by: lalasticlala
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