The moving story of Argentine actress Thelma Fardin may well be raised as the birth of local #MeToo movement scion #MiraComoNosPonemos. Hers may not be the first account of sex abuse in the world of Latin American entertainment, but one that could be the get-go for an expansive wave with a scope that is yet to be measured.
Ms Fardín joined the cast of Patito Feo (‘Ugly Duckling’), a sitcom-cum-telenovela for teen audiences that became a hit in the region, when she was 14. After 2 years, in 2009, a promotional tour took young actors to several countries that included Nicaragua, where she was allegedly raped by TV star and leading man Juan Darthés — the only actor who was an adult in the troupe.
The then 16 year-old actress said that while they were using the telephone in his hotel room, where he suggested they could arrange the replacement of her hotel keycard after it stopped working, Mr Darthés — then 45 — kissed her on the neck, took her hand towards his penis so that she “noticed his erection” and immediately said, “Mira cómo me pones” (“See what you’ve done to me”) before raping her.
Ms Fardín described details of her ordeal in a video (in Spanish).
The phrase — a local typical comeback used by a man to blame a woman when his advances are rejected, and by Mr Darthés as reported by other victims — became viral in social media via the hashtag #MiraComoNosPonemos.
On Saturday, 8th Dec. 2018 the Embassy of Argentina in Managua certified Ms Fardín’s accusation, filed four days before at Nicaragua’s Public Prosecution Office. A copy was sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina.
Support group Actrices Argentinas — a group of high-profile actresses that campaigned arduously last August to legalise abortion in the country’s parliament, which includes award-winner and “Almodóvar girl” Cecilia Roth — called for a press conference Tuesday, 10th Dec. 2018 to increase visibility of the case and bring sexual harassment and assault to their list of concerns.
Mr Darthés, 54, took to his Twitter account to deny the accusations. However, his lawyer Ana Rosenfeld ceased to represent him in previous days.
Much more than a bureaucratic move, the civil action to back prosecution for Mr Darthés coming from his career peers depicts a collective decision of Argentine women to speak up. Chances are this new stance on sex crimes stems out from Argentina to the rest of Latin America, in order to unblock the historic silence of the victims.
The adoption of protocols for abuse allegations — a government measure Actrices Argentinas is claiming — was one of the first tangible consequences in the US after the Weinstein case. Its observation is now de rigueur in all productions and studios in Hollywood.