Do directors ask for sex to give favours in Nollywood?

“I’m alone. Alone with my thoughts and my hurts. My insecurities and my doubts.”

These were the beginning monologue of Nene Nwayo, an actor trying to break into the Nigerian film industry, who told the BBC she’s been asked for sex 10-15 times in exchange for roles, requests she’s rejected outright.

The popular notion is if someone is not from a reputed family and want to make big in the Nollywood, the unwritten rule is that you have to sleep with the producers or directors or casting agents.

This problem has been in public domain since the beginning of the industry. Celebrities at different points in their carrier have commented on the issue.

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.

Mary Data Uranta, a former United Nations Peace Ambassador, said in 2013.

Recently, Yul Edochie also commented in response to the sex-for-grade investigation carried out by Kiki Mordi and the BBC African Eye team.

Rita Tony Edochie, not related to Yul Edochie, was interviewed in 2014. She is activist against the pay-to-play-a-role or sex-for-role in Nollywood.

It [sex-for-role] is worst in Asaba, Delta state.

Rita Tony Edochie in interview with Lucy Ezeliora of This Day, 2014.

The relationship between nollywood and sex

In 2007, an eight-minute amateur video of a northern Nigerian film actress in a sex scene caused a scandal in the Muslim north of the country. Kano state filmmakers’ association reacted to the scandal by expelling 17 actors deemed “immoral”. The scandal drew global attention when international media outlet, including New York Times, reported it.

In a society where Nigerians rank in the world’s top 5 in Google searches for porn, the public holds a strong moral compass to the industry. And to all sexually related content that goes to the mass media. This same Nigerians have turned to Ghanaian movies like Wapipi Jay (which you shouldn’t search for if you reading this at work).

No names mentioned

In researching this we tried to find specific scandals for sex-for-role in Nigeria Nollywood. All we find are people claiming it exist; some admitting they have been harassed before, others saying they turned advances down.

But in the 30 years of the Nigeria Nollywood Film Industry, we couldn’t find a scandal were someone was accused of asking for sex in return for favours.

Why is this? If this problem is so rampant someone would ( or should ) have been made a scapegoat.

What do you think? How do you think this problem should be addressed?

I was asked for sex in exchange for roles in Nollywood films

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Image Credit

Pablo Merchán Montes @pablomerchanm on Unsplash.

Comment in the box below or send messages to info at shugaban dot com.

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