Sexual Harassment: Nollywood women share horror stories

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Wikipedia defines casting-couch syndrome, as the demand of sexual favors by an employer or person in a position of power and authority, from an apprentice employee, or subordinate to a superior in return for entry into an occupation, or for other career advancement within an organization. The term casting couch originated in the motion picture industry, with specific reference to couches in offices that could be used for sexual activity between casting directors or film producers and aspiring actors.

Here in Nigeria the story is not different. Though no one in particular has been prosecuted over claims of casting couch, but this syndrome exists. Some practitioners call it Nollywood’s little dirty secret.

NOLLYWOOD SEXUAL HARRASMENT

 

Budding actress Sandra Chinonso recently shared her casting couch experience in a recent interview.

According to her: “Some film makers have asked me to pay certain fee to get featured in movies while some make love advances at me and it’s unprofessional. How many of them will I date or have sex with? It’s just very frustrating! Yes, some do it but I’m very different and we all have our pursuits and purposes in life. I’m already a role model to my family, especially my siblings so I want to go through the right path because I’m the first child and I have six siblings”,

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Bayray McNwizu who is a force to reckon with in Nollywood also admitted she gets sexual advances for roles. In her words: “I have been approached; I have been asked this question and I have said ‘no’ because I never engaged in it. But the offers have come up.”

BAYRAY MCNWIZU

 

For award winning actress, Kehinde Bankole anyone who offers sex for role will have to continue giving sex before getting a role.

“My opinion is that if anyone is willing to give sex for a role that is their business. They should go ahead and give. But it may mean they will have to continue giving sex before getting a role. Because word will go round that you gave this to get that when you get to the next production company, except you are lucky they didn’t hear. I will say it’s wrong to give sex before you get a role”.

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When asked If she has ever been approached, she said: “They do it all the time. Stylishly, they would ask you out for lunch right after you’ve just finished an audition. They’d ask you if you’d like to hang out, and when you check the timing you will understand what the person is trying to say. They won’t tell you that if you don’t come for dinner you are not going to get the role. Such proposals usually come after an audition or just before an audition. I want to believe most female actors will be getting it, or may be male and female actors will be getting it with the way things are going these days”.

 

KEHINDE BANKOLE

 

Light skinned actress, Juliet Odigwe had said in an interview that she was offered six rounds of sex for six movie roles.

“A production manager I met in Owerri came to me and said: ‘Babe, you are so good.

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“I’ll give you six good jobs that can blow you to stardom, but after the six jobs, all I need from you are six good rounds of sex in return’. I gave him an outright ‘no’.

“I told him I could only take him for shopping when he makes me a star.

“However, it didn’t end well. Although, he got me two good jobs, I kept reminding him that I could only take him out for shopping. He was pissed off and that was the end of the matter. He stopped calling me for jobs.”

 

JULIET PATRICK

 

Nationally, Nollywood’s culture of casting couch is beginning to make headlines, though the vicitms are not yet bold to mention their perpetrators .

“We’re now in an era of women making the men who hurt them accountable, of shifting the blame off them and onto the men who inflicted injustice upon them,” says Gloria Allred, an attorney who’s tried a number of high-profile cases involving the discrimination, abuse and assault of women.

 

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