LIMA – The mayor of the southern Peruvian city of Cuzco has filed criminal charges against the director of a comedy film that ridicules a naïve indigenous woman who travels to Lima in search of her husband.
The municipal government of Cuzco, the former capital of the Inca Empire, said in a statement that Carlos Moscoso filed the complaint against filmmaker and actor Adolfo Aguilar for the alleged crime of discrimination and incitement to discrimination.
“La paisana Jacinta: En busqueda de Wasaberto” (Peasant Jacinta: In Search of Wasaberto), a film inspired by a controversial and well-known television character created by comedian Jorge Benavides, has divided public opinion, with some seeing it as a racist spectacle while others brush it off as harmless entertainment.
The film has been a hit at the box office, attracting 380,000 moviegoers in its first week.
The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has previously criticized the character for propagating negative stereotypes about indigenous people, and Peru’s Culture Ministry also has expressed its strong disapproval.
Culture Minister Salvador del Solar, who also is an actor, said the character was “denigrating toward Andean female migrants to the cities,” adding that it ridicules these people’s manner of speaking and presents them as “dirty and ignorant.”
He also slammed the film as “racist and denigrating” and called on people to “reject undemocratic behaviors that treat people of our country as if they had less worth than others.”
Moscoso, meanwhile, said he filed the complaint due to the “natural indignation of the Cuzcan people who value their past and their origins” and because the character promotes false, erroneous, insulting and grotesque stereotypes that denigrate Andean women.