Taiwanese director Doze Niu has been accused of sexually assaulting a female crewmember working on his latest film Pao Ma. Production of the film, starring Richie Jen and Sandrine Pinna, has been suspended after a police report was filed.
According to a detailed report in Taiwan’s United Daily News, a female crewmember working on Niu’s new film was sexually assaulted by the director in late November at his home. The United Daily News reports that Niu canceled a scheduled production meeting on that day and messaged the woman’s supervisor to bring along the woman to his home to talk. After his friends and the supervisor had left, Niu allegedly groped, forcibly kissed and stripped off the woman’s clothes, then violated her with his hand.
The woman filed a police report on Dec. 5 in Taipei, and the authorities have said they would bring Niu in for investigation.
Taiwanese media reported that filming of Pao Ma is now suspended, and Taiwan’s Motion Picture Foundation has apparently called members of various film crews in Taiwan to urge them not to publicly discuss the matter. Pao Ma’s lead actor Richie Jen (Trivisa, Life Without Principle) has gained weight to 100kg for the role in the film, which was set to shoot in three stages: from August with Jen at his heaviest, the current stage, which was scheduled to end next Tuesday, and starting next February, when Jen has lost all the weight he has gained. Fate of the shoot is now in limbo.
After the alleged assault was disclosed, Niu’s previous misconduct was discussed in the Taiwanese media. He reportedly forcibly kissed actress Janine Chang on the neck during the filming of TV drama Wayward Kenting in 2007, and during the production in the same year of his first feature film, the suspiciously named What on Earth have I Done Wrong?!, he purportedly added an unscripted full nudity scene for actress Ke Huan-Ru at the last minute, and persuaded her to take part by saying it was a “sacrifice for art,” resulting in Ke breaking down after finishing the scene. He also claimed on a TV interview in 2004 that he used to, for a bet, waylay female classmates when he was in school, drag them into the men’s room, and kiss them on the mouth against their will.
Niu began his career in entertainment as a child actor at age 9 and was nominated for a Golden Horse Award for best supporting actor in 1983. He kept on pursuing acting in his adulthood, with little success, until 2001 when he took on directing TV series. He established his name as a film director with Monga in 2010, but continued to cast himself in acting parts in his films. Monga took $8.4 million at Taiwan’s box office to become the second highest grossing film in the country that year after Inception.