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Yle accused of witch hunt over film director’s questionable methods

Film director Aku Louhimies says that he was sidelined from a job in Britain after an Yle journalist made contact with his new employers.

Ohjaaja Aku Louhimies Tuntematon sotilas -elokuvan erikoisnäytöksessä Helsingissä 15. helmikuuta 2018.
Elokuvaohjaaja Aku Louhimies. Image: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva

Finnish film director Aku Louhimies has accused Yle of costing him work, after previous reports of his ‘sadistic’ methods were brought to the attention of his new employers.

Louhimies posted on Facebook that he had been sidelined from a big BBC drama production, at least temporarily. He suspects that an Yle journalist had been in touch with the British public broadcaster to convey negative information about Louhimies.

He was referring to Sara Rigatelli, the reporter behind the original stories about Louhimies in March 2018.

Yle’s Editor-in-Chief Jouko Jokinen said that the director’s claims were baseless.

“A reporter on study leave looked into a tip from Britain,” said Jokinen. “In connection with that, Louhimies was discussed.”

Among other allegations was the claim that Louhimies had put cockroaches under the clothes of a female actor while shooting a prison scene.

He was also accused of sadistic and degrading behaviour, which was mostly targeted at women.

On Monday Louhimies wrote that he had been scouting shooting locations for the World on Fire drama production, when the production company was contacted by the BBC and Louhimies was pushed aside.

The historical drama series is produced by Mammoth Screen, known for its work on Poldark among other productions.

“Production company chose another director”

Yle had been asking about the production at the start of October. At that point the PR firm Milk Publicity, which handles publicity for the series, said that Mammoth had decided on another director and that there was nothing further to say about the matter.

The firm would not confirm that comment, from a fortnight ago, on Tuesday. According to Louhimies his position on the production is still an open question.

Yle has nothing to fix

Louhimies repeatedly claimed in his Facebook post that Yle had not given him chance to correct mistakes and misinterpretations in the original story.

He said that he had demanded corrections to the story in the spring, to which Yle replied in April that there was nothing to correct. A separate demand for changes to the English version of the story resulted in the clarification note to specify that none of the allegations in the article related to the director’s work on The Unknown Soldier.

Louhimies claimed again in May that Yle had made factual errors in its reporting, a claim which editor-in-chief Jokinen again refuted.

Louhimies, the BBC and Mammoth Screen all declined to comment on the issue.

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