Malayalam News

#MeToo In India: Actor Alencier Accused of Sexual Harassment on Set

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Image of Malayalam actress Divya Gopinath sourced from Deccan Chronicle

Actress Divya Gopinath accused Malayalam actor Alencier Ley Lopez of sexually harassing her on the sets of a movie where they were co-actors. Alencier, allegedly, made lewd gestures at her, made inappropriate conversations, and violated her personal space several times during the film shoot. When the film’s director confronted him on his behaviour, Alencier came drunk on the set, abused his co-actors and created a ruckus, the actress said on Tuesday.

Gopinath had, on Monday, recounted the ordeal in detail through a blog post, protestingindia.wordpress.com, where she chose not to reveal her identity. “So I did my 4th film and my first with Alencier. I am sure I’ll see it’s our last association, ever. I had immense respect for this artist, until I met him personally. His progressive and liberal approaches to what is happening around us, is just a mask of his perverted self,” she said in the blog. On Tuesday afternoon, the actress posted a video on her official Facebook page where she explained why she had decided to stay anonymous. “Finally, managed to talk to my parents. They will stand rock solid with me. Time to end anonymity. The actress who wrote this letter to India Protests is me,” she wrote on Facebook.

The blog post had received criticism from a section of people for the writer’s anonymity. Addressing the people who hurled verbal abuses and questioned the credibility of her account, she said it was disappointing that they let down a woman who came forward to share her bitter experiences. “To the people who claimed that they wouldn’t believe my words until I revealed my identity, let me ask you – how did you treat the women who didn’t mask their identity and spoke out against sexual predators?” she asks.

Gopinath says that when the incident happened, it had crossed her mind to report it to a film union. But she chose not to after witnessing how AMMA (Association Of Malayalam Movie Artistes) had been treating its member who had been sexually harassed in February 2017. “She didn’t get justice from AMMA even though she was a member. I am not a member of AMMA. Will I even be heard?”

She mentions in the video that she has reported the incident to WCC (Women In Cinema Collective) and also approached Justice Hema Commission. “It was then I came to know that Alencier was a serial offender. Later a friend informed me that he had been humiliating me and my female co-artistes in another film set. It prompted me to come out and speak against him,” she says in the video.

“Next time when an actress complains about sexual harassment, please don’t say it’s a lie orchestrated by WCC. Sexual harassment of female artistes in cinema is a reality. WCC is working towards making the industry a safe place,” she says.

Divya, a seasoned theatre artiste, rose to fame through Sajin Babu’s Ayaal Sasi alongside Srinivasan.

 

Feature image courtesy: Deccan Chronicle

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