Gideon Okeke recently revealed he’s suffering an emotional breakdown because of the way actors are mistreated in Nollywood.
The actor took to Instagram to pour out his heart while blaming television executives and filmmakers for their role in “impoverishing actors”. He disclosed that he’s crying in his hotel room and is tempted to quit.
He said he walked away from a certain television show he had worked on for 10 years because of how staff are treated. He said as a result he’s called “the upstart ” and a “rebel.”
The father of one narrated how his actions made it possible for other actors who star in the TV show to get free subscription for two years, prior to which they were paying themselves to subscribe and watch a show they were cast in.
He complained that while he fights for his colleagues, he gets no support from the same people he fights for and he’s being blackballed as a result. The ‘Tinsel’ star said actors are treated as second class citizens, compared to musicians.
Okeke further questioned why actors are not entitled to royalties for their work and said he’s considering quitting the movie industry. He went on to narrate the conversation he had with Yibo Koko, Director General/Chief Executive Officer, Rivers State Tourism Development Agency, when he asked about his plight.
“You are a thief if you support a system that does not give what is due to the performer,” he said in a video which he posted to his insta-stories. “Filmmaking is a collaborative sport until it is time to share money. Ole nie (you’re a thief).”
He also shared screenshots of chats from people in the industry telling him of the bad things said about him behind his back and proceeded to encourage viewers to boycott everything related to Nigerian television and movies because the “industry is a beast” that “perpetually impoverishes the performers”.
Following up with an Instagram post, Okeke aired more of his thoughts on the issue, writing, “Out of Ignorance comes education. Out of Darkness came the Light. Hear this :
“I’ve really begun to feel frustrated in this CRAFT that I love so much. Remember that during the times of COVID lockdown, ONLY folks working in “essential services” were allowed to come out. Doctors, Nurses, Farmers etc etc.
“Let me remind you that while you were holed-up in your home for upwards of 4 months, watching Television, The ACTOR participated actively, in keeping your sanity in check. That’s An Essential Service if you ask Me.
“But for All that the ACTOR does (for society) all that accrues to him at the end of the day, is the upfront payment which he accepted. Which most of the time, comes at a Piecemeal drop, covering for a duration of A Lifetime….For Life!
“- WHAT THE HECK IS THE UNION / GUILD REPRESENTING ? – WHAT THE HECK ARE THE PEOPLE IN POSITIONS OF POWER WITHIN THE INDUSTRY, DOING ABOUT IT? -DO THEY CONSIDER GOING TO THE OSCARS, BEING ON NETFLIX, MORE IMPORTANT THAT THE WELFARE AND LIVELIHOODS OF THE PERFORMERS WHO ARE PERPETUALLY KEPT IMPOVERISHED?
“Most professionals are entitled to a Pension, Gratuity etc. BUT WHY IS THE ACTOR PERPETUALLY DENIED ROYALTIES AND RESIDUALS FOR HIS LIFE’S WORK?? Is it because the contract said so? Is there really Always A Contract? What does THE LAW have to say?
“It’s become clear a lot of people are here for FAME! FOR PICTURES. For SLAY. They didn’t come here to change the world. Let alone, ASK QUESTIONS! To have LIVED, is to ensure that through your life’s work, someone else lives/breathes easier, better.
“I want to tag names but I want you to PARTICIPATE. TAG THEM! Wahala for Any ACTOR wey do “Eyes-Right” for this Post O. May the industry continue to PERPETUALLY ROB ROB YOU OF YOUR DUES!!! Na ME Talk. TALK YOUR OWN!
A number of actors commented, indicating support after the post was published including Iretiola Doyle, Hilda Dokubo, Sam Sunny, Walter Anga, Uche Elendu, and more.
However, one follower blamed him for not joining the family of the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN), hence the reason why he’s not carried along to which Okeke responded, asking if AGN president Emeka Rollas has earned himself royalties of his own.
The new which has since gone viral eventually got to Emeka Rollas who responded saying that he is trying to “emotionalize the issue to draw unnecessary comments from very ignorant fellows capable of causing disharmony among us.”.
Rollas told Gideon that the reason why actors are not being paid royalties is because they are not members of a Guild or part of a “collecting society”. He advised him to start “making all of these contributions through your Guild that you belong to”, adding that the Guild can fight for actors to receive royalties, but “cannot fight for him because he’s not a member.
Rollas continued that a lot of “restructuring ” is going in the Actors’ Guild and asked him to join because “Instagram posts will not help us solve these problems my brother.” In Okeke’s response, he told Rollas that he’s “inherently admitting to an independent system, hijacking the collectives’ responsibilities from it.”
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