Tenoch Huerta, Namor from Black Panther 2, has left an upcoming film by choice over sexual assualt allegations.
After recent sexual assault allegations, Deadline reports that Tenoch Huerta has made a statement saying he is leaving the upcoming Netflix movie Fiesta en la Madriguera. Directed by Manolo Caro and written by Academy Award winner Nicolás Giacobone, the film is based on the first novel by Jalisco-born writer Juan Pablo Villalobos. Announced just last month, principal photography on the film had been slated to begin on June 15.
In a notice detailing the reasons for his departure, Tenoch Huerta referred to the accusations against him as “false statements” and said that they had been damaging and forced him to leave the production. The accusations came from María Elena Ríos, a Mexican feminist activist who says the actor engaged in sexual assault against her, including stealthing. Stealthing is the act of agreeing to have sex using a condom and either faking to put one on or taking it off without the other person’s consent and is considered a form of rape.
Tenoch Huerta noted his “great sadness” in exiting the project, but said he felt his involvement would harm the work of those involved in the production. He has continued to deny the accusations against him and stated that his current focus is on repairing his reputation. Though he does say he was in a sexual relationship with Ríos, he describes it as consensual, as well as “loving, warm, and mutually supportive.”
Though Ríos stands by her claims, Tenoch Huerta maintains that the accusations followed their breakup, implying that they were not genuine. The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star further stated that he is engaging legal counsel regarding what steps should be taken next. It remains to be seen what those steps will be and what Ríos will do in response.
But Fiesta en la Madriguera isn’t Tenoch Huerta’s only upcoming Netflix project. He is set to star in the series El Elegido (The Chosen One) with Dianna Agron and Bobby Luhnow. Previewed at the Tudum global fan festival, the series is scheduled to premiere on the streaming platform in August.
What will happen with that series will likely depend on how much of a liability Tenoch Huerta’s involvement is seen to be by Netflix. While Huerta’s removal from the series is voluntary, and his innocence must be presumed, false sexual assault accusations are very rare, comprising some two percent of all such reports. It is also noteworthy that María Elena Ríos has long been an advocate for victims of assault and was herself the victim of an acid attack.
Those facts don’t mean Tenoch Huerta is not being truthful, but they are a part of the story, as is the complete lack of response to the situation by Marvel and Disney, who are following their usual course of action in that regard. This is following the arrest of another Marvel star, Jonathan Majors, on charges of sexual assault, which he and his legal team also fervently deny. Similar charges against actor Armie Hammer were recently dropped.
Tenoch Huerta is unlikely to see such an outcome from the accusations brought by María Elena Ríos, but they are already having an impact on his career.