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Stop what you are doing and read Mary Njoku’s Instagram post on sexual harassment in Nollywood

On Thursday, actress and ROK studios head honcho Mary Njoku posted a disturbing (and hardly surprising) account of sexual harassment that she witnessed on a movie set. It had happened to her female colleague, who is also a producer. In her words, which was couched in anonymity, a very prominent male producer walked past them and said in lewd pidgin, “I dey see your virgina, if I hol am en, I go F….am tire.”

To start with, why are men like this? There’s every reason to believe this was funny to the said male producer, the verbal degradation and dehumanisation entrenched in patriarchal male power, and the normalisation of it. Shortly after those offensive words were made, Njoku was shocked and offended as she should be, and wanted to react, but her colleague waved it off as inconsequential. “Isn’t this sexual harassment?” Njoku asks. “Does she know? Or it’s just accepted.”

While sexual harassment is one of the oldest things I can think of, it became a cultural pivot after the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the inception of the #MeToo movement and other alliances. Addressing this, I have written on why there’s an absence of a shake-up in Nollywood as there was – and still is – in Hollywood. But industry practitioners like Joke Silva and Ufuoma McDermott have spoken out in the past. And, like Mary Njoku, we need to keep speaking out.

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