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#MeToo. The case of infamous rogue actor Till Schweiger shakes German cinema

Till Schweiger at the Greentech Festival in Germany on May 24, 2019. Christian Marquardt

In a long-running investigation by Spiegel magazine, the German actor and director has been accused by nearly 50 people of violent and toxic behavior on his set. A case that frees speech in the German film world.

In 2018, the Dieter Wedel case took place. This German filmmaker spoke on a local radio station about the pressures he faced as a young actor despite being accused of raping and harassing actresses. Faced with such remarks, his victims have since spoken out in lengthy investigative columns in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit crystallizing the beginning of the movement weather In Germany. First up in the press, so much so that he was soon nicknamed the “German Harvey Weinstein”, but the affair ended just as quickly.

But it’s been a few days since a new scandal rocked the country and could put abuse of power and sexual harassment in the German film industry back in the spotlight. In early May, Till Schweiger, actorInglorious bastards (Quentin Tarantino) and the award-winning director has been accused of toxic behavior on the set of his films: harassment, intimidation, excessive violence, physical and verbal aggression. In total, about 50 people testified against him in the pages of the magazine Der Spiegel. The facts would happen especially during the realization of his film Manta Manta 2 (2023).

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All stories testify to the almost daily “drunkenness” of the director. “If it’s not fresh, I’ll break your head,” he would shout, for example, at one of his employees who went to get him beer. The nickname “Imperator” in the middle, “he can start a career or end it,” exploded the source. Der Spiegel to explain this “atmosphere of fear”. It must be said that the latter would have struck a chord with some. Arriving drunk on set one day Manta Manta 2, Til Schweiger would be invited by one of his employees to relax. “He was wild. He threatened to smash his face,” said the witness who saw the slap from the film’s author.

An open secret

Since the German magazine’s revelations, this new work has been gaining momentum in the country and seems to be a free speech in the very closed environment of German cinema. Since the investigation was published, several actors in the industry have publicly testified about the toxic filming conditions that would have been commonplace on set. Like actresses Nora Tschirner and Caroline Peters. “It’s been an open secret for years,” the premiere said The Guardian:. And secondly, filling. “I’m glad this is finally being discussed publicly. No one should establish his reputation by odious behavior with people.” “And this pressure is exerted even more on those people who occupy positions that are already at risk.”

The state authorities now intend to deal with the subject. German Culture Minister Claudia Roth has just called for a “full investigation” into Till Schweiger and the conditions of his filming. Unyielding on violence in the cultural world, the latter thus demanded a “code of good conduct” in early May, drawn up under the auspices of the Professional Federation of German Cultural Institutions (Deutscher Kulturrat). To really put an end to it, he has promised to remove all subsidies to manufacturing companies that do not respect their workers.

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“I make it very clear that even artistic geniuses or alleged artistic geniuses are not above the law,” he said. Indeed, the times of patriarchal types abusing their power position in the worst way must end. Even if it is obvious that not everyone understood it. Until now, Till Schweiger has not responded to the investigation and the accusations against him.

Source: Le Figaro

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