As the #MeToo storm is getting stronger day by day as more people are being named and shamed, Malayalam actor Divya Gopinath posted a video on her Facebook page, on Tuesday, detailing incidents of harassment by actor Alencier Ley Lopez, on a film set.
In her mail anonymously published on the blog India Protests on Monday, the survivor revealed a series of incidents that happened on the sets of her fourth film as an actor and her first collaboration with Alencier.
She wrote in detail about the instances where he allegedly harassed her, while they worked together in a film.
Today, Divya Gopinath who has worked in the movie Ayal Sassi, has revealed her identity through a Facebook video with allegations against Alencier. She also opens up about how difficult it is to discuss sexual harassment with family and dear ones.
“I am sure it’s our last association, ever,” she begins, adding that the actor’s progressive and liberal approach to social issues is ‘just a mask of his perverted self’.
According to the post, the first incident happened when she, Alencier and a co-actor were at a lunch table. “He kept ogling at my breasts. I got upset, but he advised me to be more social and asked me to see things more lightly. I didn’t respond. But I could feel it wasn’t safe to be around him,” it reads.
Divya who has been a theatre artiste from a young age said on the post, the first incident happened when she, Alencier and a co-actor were at a lunch table. “He kept ogling at my breasts. I got upset, but he advised me to be more social and asked me to see things more lightly. I didn’t respond. But I could feel it wasn’t safe to be around him,” it reads.
The next incident was a shock. She writes: “He walked right into my room with a woman co-actor and advised me about the freedom of an artist and the importance of knowing one’s body. He insulted me for being so weak irrespective of my theatre background. My instincts asked me to throw him out of the room. But I decided to go with the flow, due to his seniority and the presence of a co-actor.”
The third incident happened when the actress was on her periods and was resting at her room. Alencier was repeatedly knocking and kicking at her door and she had to call the director for help. “Finally, I opened the door, thinking I will jump out of the room… But as I opened, he pushed himself inside and locked the room. He was drunk… He sat on my bed and repeated his theories on how strong theatre artistes are supposed to be.” He reportedly walked close to her when the door bell rang. It was an assistant director who came to call Alencier for the next shot following which both of them left the room.
Again, during the next schedule, the actress was having lunch with a common friend and Alencier. She recalls, “He started comparing the fish in the curry to a woman’s body each time he touched it, pinched out a piece, licked his fingers or ate it, and all the while ogling at me.” She and her friend walked out of the table. On the same day, during shooting, Alencier allegedly kept staring at the girls on the sets. “Every time he caught me by the eye, he showed me faces and rolled his tongue in all possible dirty manner of a sexually frustrated man. The same evening, at a party I could see him going to women and describing endlessly about their body and sex,” she adds.
Another day, the actress and her roommate were sleeping in their room when Alencier came for a chat and left. The roommate went to freshen up. “But what really happened was that she forgot to lock the door, in that moment of jet lag. Re-enter Alencier, like a creep, got into the bed sheet and came right behind me.
Feeling a strange presence, I woke up shocked. This man is lying so close to me and is asking ‘are you sleeping?’ I jumped up. But he caught me by hand and pulled me back saying ‘lie down for some more time’. I shouted at him with all my might and even my roommate heard me in the bathroom,” she says. Claiming that he was joking, Alencier quickly left the room before the roommate re-entered. They reported the incidents to the director, a debutant, who tried to confront Alencier, who was offended. “The way he chose to avenge was awful and very unprofessional. He messed up with shots and continuity, came drunk on set, abused co-actors and what not,” she says adding, “I know there are more women in the same film and other films who have lot more stories to share about the real Alencier.”