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culture SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIMS

Chile opens sexual abuse investigation against film director Nicolás López

Nicolás López apologised on Monday in an online video following allegations from eight Chilean actresses in a magazine article on Saturday.

Thursday 5 July, 2018
Film director Nicolás López is well-known in Chile for his comedies, but has denied he is an
Film director Nicolás López is well-known in Chile for his comedies, but has denied he is an "abuser." Foto:AFP-FILE

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A public prosecutor in Chile has announced he has opened an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against a well-known film director.

Nicolás López apologised on Monday in an online video following allegations from eight Chilean actresses in an article in Sábado magazine on Saturday.

However, he denied he was "a stalker or an abuser." He said there were "many jokes, things one says," but he denied ever doing anything "serious or criminal."

Santiago prosecutor Manuel Guerra said he had ordered the opening of a "criminal investigation" into the magazine report, according to La Tercera newspaper on Tuesday.

"From what is revealed in the magazine, there are a couple of facts that could constitute sexual abuse, but this will be determined by diligent investigation," Guerra was quoted as saying.

Allegations

 

The cover story in Sábado, owned by the mass-circulation El Mercurio newspaper, quoted several of the women as describing pressure from López to have sex.

"He projected onto a giant screen a video showing him having sex with a famous Chilean television personality," actress and journalist Daniela Ginestar told the magazine.

Ginestar said Lopez, who is 35, had masturbated in front of her.

"I wanted to escape, but he told me that if these things shocked me I should find another line of work," she said.

Other actresses were quoted as accusing him of forcibly kissing them or making sexual propositions at film festivals, parties or even work meetings.

Well-known actress and model Josefina Montané told Sábado that in a meeting López "literally asked me if he could grab my tit."

"I thought we were just going to talk about work, but the situation ended up being extremely uncomfortable," said Montane, describing a 2014 meeting with López in Santiago. "He literally asked me if he could grab my tit."

In his apology, López said he was "in shock" and while admitting he might have acted like "a scoundrel, an imbecile," he denied being a sex pest.

The 35-year-old gained fame through his trilogy Qué pena tu vidaQué pena tu boda and Qué pena tu familia, before in 2005 directing Santos, a film about a failed comic artist.

In April, Chilean prosecutors also opened an investigation into sexual abuse allegations against director Herval Abreu, known as the "czar" of Chilean soap operas.

Sexual abuse and harassment allegations against powerful men in a range of sectors have emerged across the globe since The New York Times revealed allegations against US movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in October.

- AFP

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