#MeToo has also reached Germany: “Climate of fear” in the field of Art

By | May 7, 2023

Germany’s culture minister spoke of the prevalence of a “climate of fear” in the country’s film sector, following numerous allegations of intimidation and abuse that “point” to one of the industry’s biggest stars as the perpetrator.

the reason for him up to schweigeraward-winning actor and director, who is accused of intimidation, violent outbursts and verbal abuse during the filming of his latest film, Manta Manta – Zwoter Teil. He directed the film, which has been a hit since its release in March, and also stars in it and co-wrote the screenplay.

Fifty people have given separate versions of their alleged misconduct to the news magazine Der Spiegel. They include reports of him appearing heavily intoxicated on set, with some claiming his bad behavior began a decade ago.

Claudia Roth, the culture minister, called for a “thorough investigation” into the reports and threatened to cut state subsidies to film productions that did not comply with worker protection standards. She said the time had finally come for a reckoning with the cultural world of Germany.five years after the #MeToo movement began, arguing that more attention should be paid to allegations of abuse in the arts and culture industries.

Schweiger, 59, one of Germany’s biggest film and television stars, known to international audiences for his role as Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz in Quentin’s Inglourious Basterds Tarantino in 2009, denies the allegations. So did Munich production company Constantin Film, with whom he produced Manta Manta, which received more than €2.1 million in government grants.


After the Der Spiegel report, several other film industry workers came forward and said that a toxic atmosphere on set is not limited to Schweiger’s films, but is much more widespread.

No one should bear it alone

“I’m glad this is now being discussed publicly,” said Caroline Peters, a prominent film and stage actress who said it was often difficult to distinguish between high-handedness and assertiveness on movie sets. “People will no longer be forced to endure this alone.”

Actress Nora Cirner said the allegations had been “an open secret for years” and called on those in senior positions to take action.

For his part, Roth said the action is overdue.

“The arts and culture industry is clearly prone to abuse of power, sexual assault and violation of labor protection laws,” he told reporters in Berlin.

In addition, he called for a code of conduct that film productions would have to adhere to or risk losing state subsidies starting next year.

“The days of power-abusing guys are over”

“I make it very clear,” Roth added, without naming Schweiger, “even artistic geniuses or alleged artistic geniuses are not above the law. The days of patriarchal types abusing their positions of power in the worst way should be over. Even if it’s obvious, not everyone has understood it.”

An attorney representing Schweiger said he denied the charges. Some of the “issues” raised, he said, are “unknown” to his client, and others “suggest issues that did not occur.” He accused Spiegel of repeating rumors that had been circulating for years and misrepresenting them as fact. In a statement, Constantin Film said the allegations were “grossly incomplete and distorted, and in some cases just plain wrong.”

According to the testimonies, Schweiger often appeared on the set in the mornings.having consumed alcohol and was sometimes drunk and aggressive. youA member of the production team described their surprise when they saw Schweiger punch a colleague in the face after he tried to stop the drunken actor from entering the set, telling him he couldn’t work. They said Schweiger, who treated the cast “like serfs,” he often yelled at his co-stars on the set of Manta Manta and physically harassed them.

Der Spiegel reported that working time limits were often exceeded, with the possibility of accidents due to fatigue, stating that the workers reached a “psychological and physical breaking point” because of their experience of working with Schweiger, who treated them badly. In Manta Manta, a young woman reported that she was forced to spontaneously remove her bra for a scene for which she had not prepared. Some said it was this incident that led them to approach Der Spiegel.

Germany seemed untouched by the #MeToo movement that began in October 2017.

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