Is the Film Industry Protecting Our Artistes? Here’s How Rape Storylines Could Hurt Our Actors

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source: Kosmo!

Disclaimer: This article discusses the topic of rape which may be disturbing to some readers. Readers’ discretion is advised.

On Friday, 7 April, Amelia Henderson was ordered to pay RM213,000 by the Court of Civil Sessions for breaching her contract with A Aida Productions Sdn Bhd, reported SAYS.

Judge Zulqarnain Hassan also ordered the actress to apologise and take down a video that contained defamatory statements about the company.

Fazeyla Ahmad, 42, the production manager of A Aida Production, reportedly told the court during the trial that the company had to bear losses due to Amelia’s breach of the agreement.

Amelia, on the other hand, vehemently denied breaching the contract when she accepted an offer to star in the drama, Sekali Lagi Cinta Kembali.

Following the result of the trial, Amelia proceeded to file an appeal, as she believes the case is still ongoing and will continue to fight in court.

The heavy online allegations about the reasons why Amelia breached her contract

source: Mohamad Shahril Badri Saali/Harian Metro

The aftermath of the trial resulted in fans posting heavy claims that Amelia breached her contract when she decided to leave the production of the drama due to the changes in her script.

While most of these allegations have been deleted at the time of writing, her fanbase claimed that she was given her script at very short notice and that the role did not match her personal principles.

According to them, the red-haired actress was supposed to portray a rape victim who, in the end, married her own rapist. A storyline that sets women back pre-suffrage.

source: @ameliath (Instagram)

Both Datuk A Aida (the producer of the Scorpion Queen movie) and Amelia did not confirm if the allegations were true, and they also did not disclose what happened behind the scenes during the contract signing.

However, the producer did state on 7 April that Amelia pulled herself out of the production a day before the drama began shooting.

“Like I said, this is the first time I’ve met this kind of artiste. She might do this again next time if I take her for an (acting) job.

“I would like to give opportunities to young talents who are not problematic. I don’t want an artiste who would pull themselves out a day before shooting. I’m sorry,” A Aida was quoted as saying.

What happens if these allegations are true

source: Twitter

Netizens were torn on whether to support Amelia for staying true to her principles or to point the blame on her because the actress breached her contract. Still, the focus should instead be on the allegations themselves.

There is a much bigger problem behind this case if said rumours are true, one that will affect other industry players, and it involves consent.

Although these allegations are unconfirmed, they reflect a recurring taboo in the local film industry. In fact, JUICE first wrote about the romanticism of rape in local movies back in 2018.

So, why is our film industry still writing and producing the same plot line? Well, movies are just part of consumerism, when the demand for pro-rapist narratives stop, change happens.

When it comes to artistes and celebrities, we should still care when they choose to accept or reject such obscene roles because, let’s face it – there is no space for a movie that promotes rape culture and its acceptance in this day and age.

A Aida’s response to Amelia’s appeal was also predictable, as she chose to blacklist the actress.

If the allegations are true, what does this say about our entertainment industry? Is portraying a rape victim such a small issue that producers struggle to give the script before the contract signing? And why the f–k do we like romanticising rape so much?

How the film industry should move forward

still from the 2023 film, Imaginur. source: Fly FM

While we could go on for hours about the impact of distasteful media representation of rape victims, we’ll get right to the point. How should producers move forward to improve the quality of the art they create?

With the introduction of TikTok and Instagram Reels, people have moved on from spending money and time watching a thrashy full-length film for shock value when they could simply scroll through their “for you” page (FYP) and catch the gist and best worst parts of it.

Moviegoers are now looking for films with compelling storylines that will leave them thinking long after they leave the theatre.

From films like Imaginur to television dramas like Projek: High Council, the public’s enthusiasm for these works demonstrated that Malaysians value high-quality content.

still from the 2023 film, Imaginur. source: Windows on Worlds

What does Imaginur have that the others don’t? Excellent storytelling, plot, script, and portrayal of people suffering from dementia.

These are all instances that demonstrate how good films can be made when producers, directors, and everyone else involved are passionate about what they are creating.

Additionally, talented actors such as Amir Ahnaf, Amerul Affendi, and Beto Kusyairy are more than capable of taking on major roles on screen.

However, the industry must protect the rights of performers without duping them into signing contracts that will eat them alive.

Producers must also be upfront and honest about what kind of creative work they are planning to make, and they also deserve to be fined if they switch the storyline to something that was not agreed upon, especially if it goes against universal principles in favour of some distasteful local kink.

Amelia’s alleged reasonings behind ditching A Aida Productions as claimed by some of her fans may all be mere rumours and allegations at the end of the day, but there is no denying that local thespians need to speak up and reject roles that romanticise disgusting crimes.

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