Prostitution in Nollywood: The Big Story, Controversies, Accusations and Reactions
For a while, controversies have been rocking the Nigerian Movie Industry, Nollywood, owing to the glamorous lifestyles of nollywood celebrities especially, that of the actresses.
The rumors and controversies have it that nollywood actresses live larger than their male colleagues in the industry.
Also, several actors have come out to say that acting in the Nigerian movie industry does not earn one enough money to buy a house in the highbrow areas like; Lekki, Ikoyi, Banana Island and the likes.
These actors claimed that acting in the industry is not profitable enough to put food on the table not to mention providing a luxury lifestyle.
These controversies were sparked off when nollywood actress, Mercy Aigbe bought a mansion in a highbrow area in Lagos, Ikoyi to be precise. After which a nollywood producer, Screen writer and director, Mr. Pascal Atuma, made a serious and controversial allegation that successful Nollywood stars are prostitutes.
However, Atuma‘s controversial comment came weeks after popular Nigerian actor; Paul Obazele said most Nigerian filmmakers are homosexual.
According to an interview originally published by The Cable, Atuma said the ladies in Nollywood use what they have to get what they want while the men use their a*s to get what they want.
These issues are already raising dust as it has become a trending topic on different social media platforms.
Atuma had said that Nollywood is “controlled by pimps” and that upcoming actors and filmmakers should not be deceived by the glamorous lifestyles they see from the outside.
He said in the interview:
“If you are not a full time or semi-prostitute, you will not make it in Nollywood.
“Our ladies are using what they have to get what they want. Even some of the guys who can use their a** are the ones making it in Nollywood.
“I am being very real here and they make it look as if they are doing well but they are not, they are suffering.
“Let’s stop deceiving the younger ones by keeping it real. We have to let the younger ones know how it is and what it is.”
Nollywood Celebrities Reacts
Atuma’s comment sparked off several angry responses from both his male and female colleagues.
The likes of the President of Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Emeka Rollas, and actresses, Ruth Kadiri, Shan George and Yvonne Jegede Fawole, challenged Atuma to mention the names of the prostitutes in the industry.
Emeka Rollas dares Pascal Atuma to name prostitutes
Angry Rollas, while reacting to the claim, said that it was unfortunate for the person of Atuma who had benefited immensely from the input of these so called ‘prostitutes’ and ‘pimps’ to utter such irresponsible statement.
Mr. Rollas said:
“It is sad that one who prides himself a producer and screenwriter to make such baseless and reckless statement. It is these so called ‘prostitutes’ and ‘pimps’ that have been sustaining him. What he is saying is that everyone that has been toiling to give his movies meaningful interpretation so that he would sell and feed are prostitutes.
“For his information and to others who have this nonsensical mentality, the Actors Guild of Nigeria is a responsible body that has contributed immensely to the economy of this country. Our fame has grown beyond what many expects.
“We are good ambassadors of this country. Every successful actor has earned his or her worth by dint of hardwork, personal improvement and the collective support of Nigerians who have abiding faith in our trade. I also want to challenge Atuma to name names of the prostitutes if he is sure of his hollow claim.”
Ruth Kadiri Blasts Paschal Atuma
Actress Ruth Kadiri to Pascal Atuma :
“A lot of us work too hard to be placed into a general category and insulted by a practitioner.
“Mr Pascal, I am not a prostitute. I do not sleep with men for money or lifestyle… I feel offended.
“I am an actress and a producer, I am successful and I am not a prostitute Sir, if you have nothing to say please don’t grant interviews slamming us all and generalizing based on the lifestyle of a few. It’s very wrong. Pascal Atuma.”
Yvonne Jegede Fawole slams Atuma, demands appology
Popular actress, Yvonne Jegede Fawole, joined her colleagues to condemn Paschal Atuma’s statement that successful Nollywood actors are prostitutes.
The actress said that Atuma owes nollywood producers, actresses and actors an apology for the allegation.
She wrote on her Instagram page:
“I have a degree in minding my business online but this one I have to address but Mr @pascalatuma I believe personally you owe Nollywood producers, actresses and actors an apology for this statement for so many reasons because you don’t know all of them in the industry personally to know how they survive.
“You are my FRIEND and that makes me even more offended by this statement. If there are producers, actresses or “actors” you are referring to I will appreciate you MAN UP and mention their names in your interviews rather than generalizing everyone of us.
“This is an insult to everyone who has and is still working hard to make the industry better. If you are ready for a debate, I will personally pay you to pay for the interview on national tv, that a lot and I mean a large number of us are not prostitutes.
“In every sector (not just entertainment) we have the good; the bad and the ugly (even in advanced countries such as America And Canada where you reside).
“Nollywood has provided for so many families three square meals and helped parents send their children to schools and with due respect not a shit hole you can just spit on like this.
“I repeat if you have the names you have slept with, Biko mention their names and allow us to drink our “GARRI” in peace. We are not all Prostitutes. Count me Out.”
Shan George Defends Hardworking Actresses
In the midst of the rumours and controversies as to why actresses live larger than their male colleagues in the industry, veteran Nollywood actress, Shan George, stepped into the subtle drama and pointed out that there are some actors who are also making it big in the industry.
According to her, while the actresses are combining their acting career with other jobs, some of their male colleagues are busy doing gym, six-packs, fine boy and club popping.
“We dey sell Akara, kpofkpof, Amala, cloths, shoes, powder, cream, lipsticks, write books, movie projects, endorsements etc Join the acting o. While most of the guys are busy doing gym, six-packs, fine boy, club popping Etc. Guys who are also doing the work and doing other things join are also making it. Don’t make me mention names o. Go check them out and do the math,” she wrote.
Paschal Atuma Denies statement
Reacting to the alleged comment, Atuma said his comment was totally taken out of context, misquoted and were misconstrued to create a sensational story.
The filmmaker, who is currently in Moscow, Russia, for a vacation and to support the Super Eagles at the ongoing world cup, confirmed that he indeed granted an interview to a journalist friend of his, whom he has known for several years.
He expressed his ‘unreserved apologies’ to everyone who felt offended by the story, adding that that he had no intention to undermine anyone’s hard work, and regrets the way and manner the story was put across.
In the cause of the interview, Atuma said, the conversation veered into how lots of producers and directors were taking advantage of young women in the industry, and at some point, he passionately berated some of them who have deliberately forced young women to compromise themselves for movie roles.
“He arrived at the venue with five of his colleagues from other media houses, and we sat down for lunch. The interview was centered mostly on football. After the interview, we all engaged in a light-hearted conversation about the changes in Nollywood. The conversation veered into how lots of producers and directors were taking advantage of young women in the industry, and at some point, I passionately berated some of them who have deliberately forced young women to compromise themselves for movie roles.
“Women have for eternity, been the pillars of our society. They are strong, fierce and resilient and the growth of our beloved Nollywood would not have been possible without women. As a father, brother and friend to women, I do not and would never take women for granted, and I also have no problems whatsoever with anyone’s sexual orientation.
“Since the story was published, I’ve had the chance to explain this to some of my colleagues who have reached out to me privately, and I would forever be grateful to them for seeking the truth.
“Most of the people I would call my friends in Nollywood are women and men whom I have a lot of respect and regard for. I have never taken advantage of anyone throughout my entire career, and I strongly oppose it. This cause is even more dear to my heart as a father to a beautiful daughter whom I cherish dearly. What was supposed to be a call to stop exploiting women sexually ended up sounding otherwise,” he explained.
Paschal Atuma is a Canadian-Nigerian actor and director popular for films and series like “LAPD Africa Cops” and “Bloodlines,” “My American Nurse” and “Only in America.”