In a new legal setback for the Colombian director Ciro Guerrabest known for his Oscar-nominated film “The Serpent’s Embracea Bogota court has rejected an injunction it filed against the journalists behind an explosive 2020 report detailing anonymous accounts of alleged sexual harassment and abuse.
In its statement, the court noted: “The journalists did not violate the claimant’s rights, but rather presented a report of public and political interest, which reflects specially protected speech which is necessary to combat discrimination. against women and gender-based violence. .”
“These women brought to society the echoes of the voices of other women, insecure in the face of an institution still precarious in the face of harassment and abuse; and which, on many occasions, ends up generating additional damage for the victims,” he added.
“This decision by the Constitutional Court confirms the democratic value of feminist journalism as a form of denunciation in a still insufficient judicial system,” said Matilde de los Milagros Londoño, co-founder of the Latin American feminist journal. Volcanic with Catalina Ruiz-Navarro.
She added: “It is a decision that supports the testimonies and courage of the victims and the rigorous, ethical and responsible work of us journalists. He also defends the freedom of the press, stating that the legal actions brought by Ciro Guerra against us have been disproportionate and censored. This is a very important precedent for the feminist cause against sexual violence.
In a statement sent to The varietyGuerra said: “What was important to me was that there was some sort of investigation and process, for the authorities to look into this matter and decide whether there had been misconduct or wrongdoing by my part.”
“The sentence makes it clear that none of this has been found and that there is no legal action, charge, investigation or proceeding against me. I have no intention or interest in censoring journalism, but I believe it is important to have some sort of accountability on these issues; it is not acceptable to affect livelihoods and careers based on misinformation, hearsay say and gossip,” he added.
Volcanicas did not name the women alleging misconduct, but the publication notes that it conducted direct interviews with each accuser and viewed text exchanges and recordings detailing the alleged harassment, as well as a case of alleged assault. . Compelled by the court to present additional evidence and corroborate his report, Volanicas presented an updated version that includes a ninth testimony, one more than the original eight who testified for the first time.
None of the women intend to press charges, according to the Volcanicas article. Their aim was to draw attention to “the normalization of sexual violence in the Colombian audiovisual industry, which hinders the professional growth of women and affects them physically and emotionally”, wrote Ruiz-Navarro and De los Milagros. The article included a transcript of their call with Guerra where they asked him to respond to the charges, which he denied.
The court cited this appeal to Guerra where he had the opportunity to comment on the damning report. “In this context”, he concluded: “The opinion of the journalists did not start from a vacuum but rather from a thorough investigation and they did not in any way assert that Ciro Alfonso Guerra had been convicted or was under investigation. for any crime. Therefore, the court did not find any elements to determine that the purpose of the report was to harm the plaintiff (from the notion of real malice), but rather to contribute to the public debate.
Guerra’s directing career has been on the rise since the 2020 report. He hasn’t been represented by Paradigm for about two years. The Prime Video series, “Cortes and Moctezuma” with Javier Bardem, which he was preparing failed, coinciding with the advent of the COVID pandemic.
His company Ciudad Lunar Prods, which he runs with his ex-wife Cristina Gallego, is one of the main producers of Colombia’s Oscar entry, Laura Mora’s ‘Kings of the World,’ which won a shell gold at the San Sebastian Film Festival last year. “It was produced by Mirlanda Torres of La Selva Cine and Cristina of Ciudad Lunar, a company of which I am a partner. I am currently in the middle of developing several projects,” Guerra said. Variety.