FOLLOWING the call-out of Hollywood top dog, Harvey Weinstein, over allegations of sexual harassment, many more entertainers have been called out. Before over 80 women slammed Weinstein for sexual harassment, comedian Bill Cosby had over 60 women come out to allege him of sexual harassment in a career spanning decades.
So far, the move has caused both Cosby and Weinstein their careers.
But this trend seems to be only limited to the western world. In Nollywood, actor Yomi Fabiyi, has also been called out. A lady called Seyi Hunter is alleging that the actor sexually harassed her, a move which has been causing ripples in the entertainment industry.
According to Hunter, Yomi had invited her to Ikorodu, Lagos where he propositioned sex to her, saying it was normal thing actresses did.
Hunter claimed Fabiyi demanded sex from her before she could be given a movie role.
But Fabiyi got the first bashing prior to Hunter’s allegation. “This stupid guy, I remember my encounter with him about 9yrs ago wen I was so passionate about acting,” wrote a lady, named Ennygold on Instablog9ja.
She said: “I was happy wen I met him as he promised dat he will feature me in a movie dat very day. I was so excited, I called my ppl dat I won’t be coming home o. I dey go location. Only for him to be telling me dat shey I know I can’t sleep in separate room wen we get to d location o. @Ikorodu. Dat we av to sleep together and he will av s*x with me b4 he can feature me at all. He say na normal tin for all d actress o. I was so heart broken. U know was dis guy now did? As I told him I can’t do it, he just dropped me along d express in d middle of d busy road in Ketu. I cried till I reach home. My mama just dey console me like baby.”
Meanwhile, Hunter, who recently referred to herself as a ‘sex goddess’ in an interview however, said she was shocked at Fabiyi’s act as she trusted him, saying, “he had always advised me and was the only Nollywood Person at my office opening.”
Responding to the accusation, Yomi Fabiyi described the accusation as false and cheap ‘blackmail.’
“It is not in my habit to warn or be on the wrong side of the media as I believe we are in here for one another with high respect but please if you are not part of the this ‘pull him down by all means syndrome’ campaign going on, I advise you avoid letting this cheap “BLACKMAIL” seat on your portal,” Fabiyi wrote.
“To my friends, fans and close allies that know me so well, one thing is crystal clear, I will not walk anybody out of my car in a manner that terrible lies has pointed. So many lies and discrepancies in the story. I do not know who is behind this but I am sure they are not someone with better lives and they shall meet their waterloo very shortly. I will see this to a logical end and ensure criminals like this are not allowed to spoil the cyber space or hoodwinked people into falling in line with their jaundice or criminality. In the interim, let us relax and see how things pans out. I am doing fine and please WATCH my latest movie AGBEDE MEJI via Yoruba plus on YouTube. “
While many are of the view that these accusations may not go beyond the cyber space, as evidence is usually a rarity, Hunter said she has a recorded phone conversation of Fabiyi demanding sex from her.
Daring her to come out with a proof, Fabiyi who disclosed that he wants to ‘clear’ his name said he has already reported the matter to the police and challenged Seyi Hunter to bring out the recording where he asked her for sex.
”Trust me fans, friends and colleagues, I am not a saint nor trying to look perfect but blackmail, cyber-attacks and defamation of character are both serious criminal and civil matters that must not be taken with levity and on this I wish to clear my name. It is not the words of bullies or enemies that hurts, it’s the silence of friends. I thank my fans & good friends for your support.”
With the banters going on, social media followers took it to another dimension by asking male filmmakers to talk about female actresses who have harassed male producers sexually.
“Also, I think male producers and directors should speak out too about actresses who harass them with naked pictures to get roles,” one said.
“In Nollywood, it is also an open secret that some desperate actresses in the Asaba axis of Delta State in a bid to land movie roles, ‘sexually harass’ male producers and directors,” said another.
Yemi Solade too
ALSO, being accused of sexual harassment on social media is actor Yemi Solade by a woman simply identified as Lawal Dolapo who said she was an aspiring actress.
“Okay, I saw a post about Yomi Fabiyi on @instablog9ja and I felt like talking about mine,” wrote Dolapo.
“Years ago when the drive to become an actor was high, I believed in myself so much, I was going for auditions, getting call backs and anytime I was called on to set, something about school will set in.
“I saw this man’s page, I mean the almighty @yemi_solade and I noticed he had his BBM pin on his bio, as a hustling girl, I sent him request, he accepted, it felt like heaven on earth, I felt like my prayers were about to be answered.
“I sent him accolades first, you know na, next thing I said, sir, I’ll like to be featured in movies, he said that’s not a problem, I should meet him up somewhere around Ajah. Cross-checking the address, it was a guest house, I said, sir, you are like my father(I was about 20yrs old then), uncle said and I quote “I know my children, and you are not one. If you want a role, then come”
“Emi Arike, if I’ll sleep with a man for something, then it’s not going to be something I can get by myself.
The lady said she was shocked at Solade’s response. But the veteran actor dismissed the allegation and said the lady was paid by bloggers.
“I congratulate the new celebrity on the bloc! Her intentions would be her undoing. The Cocoyam leaves had had water within before the rainy season. I wish her all the best. I thank you guys who know one or two things about how we work. I live on Gowon Estate, Egbeda….
“Work all over the world and we are camped in hotels for the duration of work….. I need not dwell on this nuisance value gist. This is not how Funke Akindele – Bello, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade – Ekeinde and their likes got into public consciousness…
“My dear sisters did the needful by training in film schools, acquiring film education and today the world celebrates them. I wish this Dolapo Lawal success in her new status… Welcome to the world of celebs… I hope the bloggers paid her handsomely.
“You will be the first to run her sadness when she lands in court.”
Giving support to the actor, Foluke Daramola has denounced Solade’s accuser.
“You’re very silly for this,” Daramola wrote.
“What do you want to achieve with this? What evidence do you have? Stupid idiot.”
Others however criticised Daramola, saying it was difficult to get evidence for incidents of sexual harassments.
“The closest to evidence against these men is the ‘similarity’ in stories of the ‘numbers’ of women who accuse them,” said an industry stakeholder.
“Asking that the ladies present ‘hard evidence’ – knowing it’s largely not possible – may be construed as a tad insensitive. It’s better to say there are two sides to the story and we’ve only heard one. Yomi Fabiyi and whoever else accused are innocent till proven guilty.”
Other actresses have also said this is a common trend in Nollywood, said an actress who also said Solade also grabbed her nipple in 2004 “in the middle of a serious formal conversation.” The actress said that many of her female colleagues just keep quiet about the goings-on.
“Some of us don’t just enjoy the limelight (with) stories like that trailing us, so we keep quiet and watch the next girl go through such emotional trauma,” she said.
“I’m guilty of it. So many women are guilty of it. The nation is guilty of it.”
Another actress also accused a director with Africa Magic of demanding sex from her before eventually refusing to work with her totally because she refused to sleep with him. She also said sexual harassment is rampant.
“How many will I say?” She asked.
“This harassment thing is everywhere! Bank industry, movie industry, music industry, all other industries/sectors.”
Fabiyi said he has already tabled the matter with the police. As it stands now, will accusations and counteraccusations make clear any reason for prosecution? If there is no evidence, will the words of the accusers be enough to enforce any reprimand? Will the recorded phone conversation by Hunter be admissible?
And as sexual harassment is being reined in Hollywood, will that be the case in Nollywood? In the Hollywood example, it was the sheer number of women alleging sexual harassment that ‘convicted’ Cosby, Weinstein and Spacey. And while women rights activists in Nigeria, especially the female entertainers, have been vocal about battery, at what point will they wade into these allegations and counter-allegations of sexual harassment?