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Spain’s highly anticipated Goya Awards ceremony, slated for Saturday, finds itself embroiled in controversy as allegations of sexual assault surface against an independent Spanish filmmaker. Actor Sigourney Weaver, set to receive an honor at the event, addressed the issue ahead of the ceremony.

As the Goya Awards ceremony approaches, allegations of sexual assault leveled against an independent Spanish filmmaker threaten to overshadow the prestigious event. Sigourney Weaver, who is slated to be honored, voiced her concerns regarding the matter during a pre-event news conference.

The accusations emerged just a fortnight before the ceremony, with three women disclosing to El Pais their experiences of sexual violence allegedly perpetrated by filmmaker Carlos Vermut. Despite the gravity of the allegations, the women opted to remain anonymous, refraining from filing a police complaint due to fears of repercussions on their careers. Vermut, in response, denied the allegations in his interview with the newspaper.

With the spotlight on the eve of the ceremony, Spain’s Minister of Culture Ernest Urtasun pledged to establish a dedicated unit to address abuse allegations within the film sector, acknowledging the severity of the issue. The Spanish Film Academy also affirmed its commitment to combat such abuses in the industry, emphasizing that sexual violence and abuses of power have no place in Spanish society or the world of cinema.

In light of the allegations, the urgency to address the pervasive issue of sexual assault and violence within the cultural sector was underscored by Urtasun during an interview with La Sexta television. He vowed to support women working in the industry and to take decisive action against gender violence allegations.

Carlos Vermut, a rising star in Spain’s independent cinema scene, faced accusations dating back to May 2014, as reported by El Pais. The allegations ranged from claims of immobilization and forced intercourse to instances of unwanted physical advances. Vermut, however, maintained his innocence, asserting that his sexual encounters were consensual.

The emergence of these allegations amid the backdrop of the #MeToo movement highlights the ongoing struggle against sexual violence within the film industry. Despite the controversy, the Goya Awards ceremony is poised to honor Hollywood icon Sigourney Weaver with a lifetime achievement award for her outstanding contributions to cinema, including memorable performances in Alien and Gorillas in the Mist.

Expressing solidarity with the victims, Weaver conveyed her sympathy during a news conference in Valladolid, acknowledging the pivotal role of women in speaking out against abuses, thereby fostering a safer environment for all individuals in the industry.

With AFP