In the wake of recent sexual and workplace harassment allegations against Chile’s biggest box office hitmaker, Nicolas Lopez, Netflix has placed its relationship with the filmmaker “under review.”
“Netflix has licensed several of Nicolás López films in the past and we have an agreement for one of his new projects, which is now currently under review,” it stated. Netflix was slated to release a new Lopez film under wraps next year.
At least eight actresses and models, among them Josefina Montané, Lucy Cominetti, Andrea Velasco and María Vidaurre, have come forward with damning allegations of sexual harassment against Lopez.
In an Instagram post, Lopez said: “I don’t understand what is happening nor the break in my years-long relationships of trust and affection. If I sometimes have been misunderstood, I apologize. But I’m not a stalker nor an abuser.”
Lopez also posted a video to YouTube, in which he announced he has decided to resign from his company, Sobras, in order prevent his current problem from affecting his partners and collaborators. He vowed to fight the allegations and repeated the earlier Instagram statement.
“We will evaluate legal actions to defend Lopez’s honor,” said his lawyer Paula Vial of the allegations that first appeared in Chile’s Sabado magazine, which she said was replete with statements that were either misleading or taken out of context. “We are convinced that Nicolas is not an abuser and we plan to prove this,” she added.
Ironically, some of Lopez’s films on Netflix, “No Filter” (“Sin Filtro”) and “I’m Not Crazy” (“No Soy Loca”) deal with women and their right to speak their mind. Both were part of a femme-focused trilogy he had planned.
“I’m Not Crazy” was the third Lopez film to open at number one in Chile last January, outpacing international hits like “Wonder Woman,” “Justice League” and “Coco” on their debut weekends in Chile. “No Filter,” co-financed by Netflix, has been remade in Mexico, Spain and Argentina, among other territories.
Lopez has also collaborated with genre helmer Eli Roth on a slew of films, including “Aftershock,” “The Green Inferno” and “Knock, Knock.”
“We think all this information is brutal,” said Ignacio Achurra, head of Chile’s Screen Actors Guild, Sidarte, in a statement to the local press. “On the other hand, we think it is necessary for all this to come to light and hope that these claims are taken to the Public Prosecutor’s office and that they undergo a judicial process,” he added.
Attorney Juan Pablo Hermosilla, who is representing some of the women, said: “This is a case that will reverberate because we have a director who works in the U.S. and who produces for the North American market, so we are not only going to apply Chilean legal standards, but also North America’s. And that’s why Netflix and any other company that has a presence in the U.S. are in a complicated position: they cannot sponsor nor support behavior of abuse or mistreatment of artists.”
LA-based Chilean actress Leonor Varela (“Blade II,” “Dallas”) said on Twitter: “All my support for these brave actresses. You [Lopez] never touched me (contrary to what you told a lot of people), it’s time to put a stop to this nefarious behavior.”