Nigeria actor claims he’s racially abused

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Apr 1, 2018, 1:29 am IST
Updated Apr 1, 2018, 1:29 am IST
‘Money promised orally was not given’.
Samuel Abiola Robinson
 Samuel Abiola Robinson

Thiruvananthapuram: There was no escaping it, the harshest of critics came out agreeing Sudani from Nigeria was too good. Except for a few voices of dissent, the movie has been accepted, hugged and loved. But only a week after the release, an unexpected controversy has quietly cropped up on Facebook when the Nigerian actor Samuel Abiola Robinson playing the title character of the film, made a post.  “I believe that I was a victim of racial discrimination while in Kerala. It was nothing violent or directly in my face, but for my role in Sudani from Nigeria, the producers offered me far less money than Indian actors who are not half as popular or accomplished as I am would normally earn,” he wrote as part of a long post.

He goes on to write that it is after meeting several young actors he knew this, and that the producers had promised to pay more if the movie became successful – which it has. “I am of the opinion that this happened purely because of my skin colour and the assumption that all Africans are poor and don't know the value of money,” he writes. The producers of the film Happy Hours Entertainment – comprising Sameer Thahir and Shyju Khalid – made another Facebook post to answer the concerns raised by Samuel – about the payment and the question of racism. They write that the contract was prepared after Samuel agreed on the payment, and after a clear picture was given of the amount they could offer for a low budget film. The amount agreed on the contract has already been paid. The allegation that he was not given a fair payment is an injustice to the agreement, they write.

 

They told him like to everyone else who was part of the film that if it became a commercial success, there will all get a share of the ‘happiness’. Although it is true that the film is running successfully, it will take some time before the money reaches them. They have wanted to gift him an amount that would bring justice to the priceless role he has played in the film. Even now, they hope the film will be so successful that it happens. But this is a moral thought beyond the contract, they clarify.

It has been extremely painful that Samuel alleged them of racial discrimination, they say. Samuel has never been given pressure to agree to the terms of payment. He had every freedom to say he didn’t want to cooperate with the film. But he agreed to the contract. They understand that Samuel must have got wrong information from some sources and that has led to this reaction. It is sad that such a good friendship has to go through such an unfortunate phase. “We believe his misunderstandings could be cleared and our friendship could be rekindled,” they end the note.

Producers say they honoured contract

The producers Happy Hours Entertainment comprising Sameer Thahir and Shyju Khalid, wrote a Facebook post in reply to the concerns raised by Samuel. 
They said the contract was prepared after Samuel agreed on payment, and after a clear picture was given on the amount they could offer for a low budget film. The amount agreed on contract was paid. The allegation that he was not given a fair payment is an injustice to the agreement, they said. They told him as they did to everyone else who was part of the film that if it became a commercial success, they will all get a share of the ‘happiness’. Although it is true that the film is running successfully, it will take some time before the money reaches them.

They have wanted to gift him an amount that would bring justice to the priceless role he has played. But this is a moral thought beyond the contract, they clarify. It has been extremely painful that Samuel alleged them of racial discrimination, they said. Samuel has never been given pressure to agree to the terms of payment. He had every freedom to say he didn’t want to cooperate with the film. But he agreed to the contract. They understand that Samuel must have got wrong information from some sources and that has led to this reaction. It is sad that such a good friendship has to go through such an unfortunate phase. “We believe his misunderstandings could be cleared and our friendship could be rekindled,” they end the note.

...
Location: India, Kerala




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