Chilean film director apologises over harassment claims

In this file picture taken on October 22, 2005 Chilean film director Nicolas Lopez on the red carpet for the opening ceremony of the 18th Tokyo International Film Festival. — AFP pic
In this file picture taken on October 22, 2005 Chilean film director Nicolas Lopez on the red carpet for the opening ceremony of the 18th Tokyo International Film Festival. — AFP pic

SANTIAGO, July 3 — A Chilean film director accused of sexual harassment by eight actresses apologised for his actions yesterday but denied being a sex pest.

Nicolas Lopez, a famed director known for his comedies, said he was “in shock” over the allegations that appeared in local magazine Sabado on Saturday.

“It hurts to see that they feel bad about what I did,” said Lopez in a video shared by local media yesterday.

“For this I would like to say sorry and I hope that all of this will soon be cleared up,” he added, looking visibly shaken.

Actress and journalist Daniela Ginestar had claimed Lopez, 35, masturbated in front of her while “he projected onto a giant screen a video showing him having sex with a famous Chilean television personality”.

Well-known actress and model Josefina Montane said in a 2014 meeting that Lopez “literally asked me if he could grab my tit”.

Lopez described his accusers as “friends and close acquaintances, with whom I had close relationships”.

“I’m not a stalker or an abuser. I might have been injudicious, a scoundrel, an imbecile, but I’m not that,” he added.

But Lopez’s apology brought more scorn from Ginestar, who said his video made her feel “even more violated”.

“Now, it seems like he’s the victim and we look like we’re exaggerating,” she said.

The fall-out has been rapid for Lopez, though, with Netflix announcing they were reviewing their relationship with the director, three of whom’s films are currently available on the video platform.

Lopez gained fame through his trilogy Que pena tu vida, Que pena tu boda and Que pena tu familia, before in 2005 directing Santos, a film about a failed comic artist.

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