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Prosecutor drops Louhimies case, no evidence of Yle journalists committing any crimes

The film director was unhappy about an Yle story that reported he had placed cockroaches under a female actor's clothing.

Aku Louhimies elokuvan kuvauksissa Suomenlinnassa.
Finnish film director Aku Louhimies. Image: Pasi Murto / AOP

A prosecutor has ended an investigation into Yle journalists who published a story detailing degrading methods used by film director Aku Louhimies.

There was no evidence of the journalists committing any crimes and no prospect of obtaining any such evidence if the investigation continued, the prosecutor said.

Louhimies had complained on 3 December 2018 about a story published by Yle on 19 March 2018. The story had outlined how the director had managed actors on his productions, including details of what actors felt was their subjugation and degradation at his behest.

Louhimies claimed there were several mistakes in the story, and claimed that the article libelled him.

Yle had already responded to his correction requests in April 2018, and said there was nothing to correct in the Finnish version of the story.

The English version was clarified after publication to state that the degrading behaviour, which included the use of cockroaches to make female actors uncomfortable, did not take place on the set of Unknown Soldier and corrected the number of films Louhimies has directed.

After the police complaint, officers interviewed reporter Sara Rigatelli, Yle's Editor-in-Chief Jouko Jokinen and one of the interviewees in the story, Pihla Viitala. In addition, police interviewed Louhimies and six other witnesses.

In October 2020 the investigating officer Teemu Jokinen recommended that the case be dropped. On 3 December, prosecutor Juha-Mikko Hämäläinen agreed and dropped the case.

Yle Editor-in-Chief Jokinen gave only a brief comment on the matter.

"We have done normal, very careful and thorough journalistic work, which has been significant for society as a whole," said Jokinen.

Yle tried to reach Aku Louhimies for a comment.

The investigating officer found that the Yle story presented a picture of Louhimies as an ambitious, demanding, humiliating, domineering and improvisational film director.

According to Louhimies, the story contained erroneous claims causing him great harm and suffering. He told investigators that the story was intentionally slanted to damage him.

Police found no evidence to support his claim.

Louhimies had raised 16 points about the article, which in his opinion caused the most significant damage to his reputation.

Police said five of those were clearly not criminal in nature, and the prosecutor decided the same for the final 11.

Louhimies also made several claims during the investigation that, according to Editor-in-Chief Jokinen, had no basis in fact. Police found no evidence to support the claims during their preliminary investigation.

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