2017 had beefy heroes take on men or gangs who had sexually assaulted
their wives or daughters. But off-screen, predators in the world’s most
prolific film industry are protected by victims’ silence.
which both produce more films than Hollywood, actors told the Thomson
Reuters Foundation that sexual abuse and harassment was rife, but
victims almost never spoke out.
Harvey Weinstein has sparked countless stories of sexual harassment in
the social media #MeToo campaign, with women using Twitter and Facebook
to recount experiences of being abused, groped, molested and raped by
bosses, teachers and family.
and assaulting numerous women, including A-list actresses, over the past
three decades. The film producer has denied having non-consensual sex.
women in Nollywood to keep quiet about harassment for fear of losing
roles, their Indian counterparts said Bollywood’s ‘boys club’ and
pervasive victim shaming stopped them going public.
is the culture of victim shaming, the culture of silence that is
present everywhere, not just Bollywood,” said Richa Chadda, an Indian
actress who has blogged about #MeToo.
“It is glamorous to talk about Bollywood, but the problem is that
girls (everywhere) are not treated equally and don’t feel safe,” she
told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone. “When you speak up, you
risk losing your position, your career.”
Thousands of young boys and girls flock to the Bollywood capital
Mumbai every year seeking film parts and are often exploited by agents
who promise roles in exchange for favours.
in the industry. I’ve not seen anyone take a stand against allegations
of sexual harassment made by female actors,” said Radha Rajadhyaksha, an
Indian journalist who writes on films.
for rape, one or two filmmakers came out in support of him and (helped)
to resurrect his career.”
a big name actor was arrested earlier this year following the abduction
and rape of a popular actress in Kerala, industry figures soon tweeted
their support. The actor is still awaiting trial.
leading Bollywood producer was arrested on charges of raping a
25-year-old aspiring actress and taking pictures of her naked.
of Western India Cine Employees, an umbrella organisation of 22 unions,
said they had recently created a ‘health and safety’ committee that will
also look at sexual harassment cases.
members including performers, sound technicians and make-up artists, had
never received any harassment complaints.
“Bollywood is a clean industry,” he added.
acceptance that sexual harassment was inevitable in the $3.3 billion
industry which turns out dozens of films every week.
are a lot of people abusing their position and demanding sexual
favours. I have had to turn down jobs, walk out of sets,” said Dorothy
Njemanze, who has worked in Nollywood for 15 years.
actresses called him every day to say they were being pressured to sleep
harassment there. The difference is that, in Africa, we don’t have any
functional laws,” she said.
“There is also a lot of poverty. In Hollywood, if acting doesn’t work
out, you can always go and get another job. In Nigeria, it’s difficult
to get another job so there is (more) pressure on women to sleep with