Here are the three reasons sexual harassment is prevalent in Nollywood. And this is why you should know about them.
In Nollywood, filmmakers, investors, and powerful actors continue to ask for sexual favours to advance careers of female and upcoming acts and there are three reasons for this.
Sexual harassment in Nollywood has become a common knowledge and the reasons for the action varies from victims to the predators.
While sexual assault or harassment on women is a much more prevalent situation, the predatory relationships also affects male movie practitioners.
From Kannywood to Nollywood, Nigerian movie practitioners are beginning to come out to share their stories despite shame, cultural norm and traditional pressures of taking such step.
Here are the three reasons sexual harassment is prevalent in Nollywood.
1. Seeking instant fame
A number of Nollywood actresses have said one of the reasons sexual harassment has become prevalent in the industry is because some ladies seek instant fame.
For Omalicha Elom, some desperate actresses indulge perpetrators just to secure instant fame with movie roles.
“This is very true because some actresses feel their body can answer all things,” she told Vanguard.
Continuing, she said, “To be honest, some of the so-called Asaba big girls started this act of paying money and offering sex for movie roles because they want to appear in movies by all means. In Asaba, some girls give producers N100,000, N200,000, just to appear in one or two scenes.”
Corroborating Elom’s expose on sexual harassment, movie director, Charles Uwagbai said actress should desist from seeking shortcuts and limit personal interactions with movie directors or producers.
“Actresses should not look for shortcuts by calling movie directors and producers or sending them messages in a bid to get jobs because by so doing they will fall into the wrong hands,” he said.
2. Prostitution in Nollywood
Many movie practitioners have tried effortlessly to downplay the seeming prostitution in Nollywood. However, young actresses and established names have lend credence to the fact that some actresses merely engage in prostitution in the industry.
Speaking on prostitution in Nollywood, Elom said, “Yes, there are, and it’s quite painful and annoying.”
Elom, however, said the issue of actresses prostituting is not limited to the movie industry saying such practice exist in other sectors of the economy.
In the same vein, Canadian-Nigerian actor and filmmaker, Pascal Atuma was quoted as saying some actresses are prostitutes in an interview with TheCable.
“If you are not a full time or semi-prostitute, you will not make it in Nollywood.
“Our ladies are using what they have to get what they want. Even some of the guys who can use their ass are the ones making it in Nollywood," he was quoted.
Atuma, however, denied the statement credited to him claiming he was misquoted out of context.
Perversion is a sexual behaviour that is considered abnormal and unacceptable. And this is another reason sexual harassment in Nollywood remains prevalent.
The increase of sexual harassment cases that have remained unannounced and unreported has led to perversion for some filmmakers in Nollywood.
Pulse findings revealed that over the years, perpetrators have become so used to demanding sex for roles that it becomes impossible to spot the talent in an actress without exhibiting their unacceptable sexual behaviour.
Filmmaker and actress, Mary Remmy Njoku narrated how a colleague was harassed without perceiving it as harassment.
She wrote, “…What is the Nigerian definition of sexual harassment? I was standing with a female producer who was wearing a leggings with a camel toe. and a Very prominent male producer Walked past and said I dey see your Virgina (in pidgin) if I hol am en, I go F…. am tire. On the streets of Lagos! I was deeply offended. I wanted to say something but the Lady just said 'no mind am the man sabi talk rubbish' and she immediately changed the topic like nothing happened….”
Sharing her experience, Steph Nora-Okere said a popular movie producer actually harassed her sexually after putting a knife to her neck.
"Over the years, I have tried not to talk about it because my family said 'let it go.' Yes, I was sexually harassed," she told Broadway TV.
Continuing, the actress said, "I was harassed by a very famous producer, who actually put a knife to my neck. It's a story for another day. I went through that and I actually left Nollywood at a point."
Recounting her ordeal in the hands of a producer, actress, Annabel Zwyndila told Vanguard that she was called all sorts of names for refusing sexual advances in exchange for a role.
The actress further said the producer started reeling out names of his victims in the Nigerian movie industry and saw no reason for her refusal.