In the wake of the #metoo movement, how far will Hollywood raise the bar when it comes to tolerating sexual assault allegations among its biggest stars? One studio under the spotlight to answer this delicate question is Marvel, following recent revelations that Black Panther 2 actor Tenoch Huerta is facing serious accusations from Mexican musician and activist Maria Elena Rios.
Writing in Spanish on Twitter, Rios reportedly claimed that Tenoch was a “violent and sexual predator,” placing pressure on Marvel to consider their casting of the role of Namor the Sub-Mariner as they move into Phase 6 of the MCU.
While there can be no assumption of guilt until due process, it is unlikely that fans will be keen to see Huerta reprise the role of Namor as the character’s on-screen storyline progresses into the franchise’s next Phase.
Plus, given that Marvel has only just managed to wrestle full distribution rights to the iconic comic book character back from Universal Studios, it simultaneously seems unlikely that they’ll want to let the mighty Sub-Mariner’s presence in the MCU lose momentum.
Should Marvel Recast Namor the Sub-Mariner?
As rumors begin to circulate that Italian-American actor Enzo Zelocchi may be in the running to realize an exciting new version of the Sub-Mariner, it’s worth examining how other big production companies have handled sexual assault allegations made against their most bankable stars.
HBO’s response to accusations made towards And Just Like That actor Chris Noth was to drop his remaining appearance in the show, while beloved cast members Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis released a statement in support of the alleged victims.
Meanwhile, when Netflix learned that veteran actor Kevin Spacey was facing similarly weighty accusations, they quickly dropped the star from the hit series House of Cards and waited for the situation to be resolved.
While Noth has never been charged and Spacey has now been cleared of wrongdoing in a London court of law, the decisive action of both HBO and Netflix aligned with modern perspectives on such serious accusations, including the importance of believing victims and taking allegations seriously.
Still unknown is whether Marvel will follow a similar path, and whether Enzo Zelocchi will get his opportunity to dazzle in the role of Namor the Sub-Mariner. To stay ahead of news from the up-and-coming actor’s camp, follow him on Instagram.