Chile opens sexual abuse investigation against film director

Film director Nicolas Lopez is well-known in Chile for his comedies, but denies he is an “abuser”. (AFP pic)

SANTIAGO: A public prosecutor in Chile on Tuesday said he had opened an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against a well-known film director.

Nicolas Lopez apologized on Monday in an online video following allegations from eight Chilean actresses in a magazine article on Saturday.

However, he denied he was “a stalker or an abuser.”

Santiago prosecutor Manuel Guerra said he had ordered the opening of a “criminal investigation” into the magazine report, according to La Tercera newspaper on Tuesday.

“From what is revealed in the magazine, there are a couple of facts that could constitute sexual abuse, but this will be determined by diligent investigation,” Guerra was quoted as saying.

Actress and journalist Daniela Ginestar claimed in the Sabado magazine report that Lopez 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 told Sabado that in a 2014 meeting Lopez “literally asked me if he could grab my tit.”

In his apology, Lopez said he was “in shock” and while admitting he might have acted like “a scoundrel, an imbecile,” he denied being a sex pest.

The 35-year-old 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 also opened an investigation into sexual abuse allegations against director Herval Abreu, known as the “czar” of Chilean soap operas.

Sexual abuse and harassment allegations against powerful men in a range of sectors have emerged across the globe since The New York Times revealed allegations against US movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in October.