At least 18 women have accused Brazilian film producer and film festival curator Gustavo Beck of sexual assault and harassment, according to a new report published in The Intercept. The outpouring of testimonies affected by alleged behaviors of Beck — including a pattern of abuse, psychological torment, and corrupt business dealings — began after American woman Cat de Almeida shared a post on Facebook suggested Beck had sexually abused her.
De Almeida said she wanted to use her account as a way to talk about “sexual assault, machismo (sexism) and oppression” in the movie industry, adding that “rape is a violent crime where sex is the weapon.” According to the Intercept story, originally published in Portuguese but now available via translation on Medium.com, Beck has “unconditionally” denied all of the accusations.
Testimonies indicate that Beck allegedly assaulted, harassed, or raped his victims after meeting them through his work on the festival circuit, where he often served double duty as a film producer and a fest curator. Some of the women allege that Beck coerced them into sex that was unwanted, or sex that became violent after being initially consensual. One woman who is able to corroborate testimonies from the victims is Beck’s ex-girlfriend, filmmaker Deborah Viegas, to whom some of the women came to after she shared de Almeida’s Facebook post.
De Almeida said that, while at the Bafici Film Festival in Buenos Aires, she met with Beck for a meeting under false pretenses. “From the moment we entered, the contact began to be insistently physical, and I said ‘this is not going to happen,’” she said. “Until he grabbed my hair and gave me a bite on the back of my head. I went to the door and he blocked my passage and pushed me. Then he took off my pants and his.” She was able to escape before things escalated further.
Other encounters are grimmer. According to a prosecutor interviewed by The Intercept, seven cases highlighted could “constitute rape or attempted rape, four possible situations of sexual harassment, one case of physical aggression, and two cases of psychological violence. There are also four cases that would fit as sexual harassment.”
“I unconditionally deny all the accusations and the only two situations that are described on the record, I can say that it frightens and saddens me how people can freely re-evaluate their subjectivities, imposing these criminal accusations years later,” Beck told The Intercept.
Beck, who currently resides in Portugal, has served as a guest programmer of the Rotterdam International Film Festival, and curator at the Viennale festival in Austria as well as the Bafici festival in Argentina. He also served on the selection committee for IndieLisboa this year in Portugal, and has written articles for Mubi.
The Rotterdam Film Festival, in a statement shared on its website, said, “Gustavo Beck worked for IFFR as a freelance scout and guest programmer between 2016 and 2020. In May 2020, when accusations of sexual misconduct were first brought to our attention directly, IFFR took a series of steps eventually resulting in a break from any further collaboration with Beck. While details of the events were being disputed, it ultimately became clear that continuing our collaboration with Beck would not support our core values as a cultural organization and a platform for openness, respect and love for cinema.”
The festival also alluded to conflicts of interest experienced in their dealings with Beck, stating, “However, IFFR is also singled out as the allegations against Gustavo Beck extend beyond sexual misconduct to several instances of conflict of interest.”
As reported by The Intercept, “Beck took advantage of his position in important festivals to gain credit as a film producer after [films] were almost ready. In exchange, according to the testimonies, he promised to facilitate the selection of these films in festivals where he works, as emails to which we’ve had access to have shown.”
Other collaborators have cut ties with Beck since allegations began to surface earlier in the year. According to a statement posted via Facebook, IndieLisboa “decided in June to finish its collaboration with Gustavo Beck after the first complaints were released.”
Reached for comment by IndieWire, Mubi stated, “Gustavo Beck has previously written articles that were published on MUBI’s publication Notebook. We will not feature contributions from Gustavo Beck in the future. MUBI does not condone sexual abuse of any kind and our thoughts are with those affected.”
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