Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Tenoch Huerta is denying an accusation of sexual assault.
“A false and completely unsubstantiated accusation about me has spread like wildfire — and I cannot let it go unchallenged any longer,” reads a statement shared with EW by reps for Huerta. “About a year ago, I dated Elena for several months. It was entirely consensual at all times, as countless others can attest. And throughout it was a loving, warm and mutually supportive relationship. After it ended, however, Elena began to misrepresent our interactions both privately and in front of groups of mutual friends,” Huerta claimed.
“As a result, a few months ago, I engaged a legal team to commence the appropriate actions to protect my reputation and refute these irresponsible and false accusations that can cause great prejudice and damage,” the statement continues. “Although I am by no means perfect, I know that these allegations are simply untrue. And while I will always work to improve myself, I need to contest claims that are both false and offensive.”
It concludes, “I am deeply grateful to my family and the people who have supported me and greatly appreciate everyone who is willing to look at the facts and reflect before rushing to an untrue and unjust conclusion.”
Huerta also shared his statement in an Instagram Story.
Ríos’ allegations of assault came after Poder Prieto, an activist organization based in Mexico that seeks to combat racism in the film industry, shared an episode of the podcast El Feisbuk de la Malinche, on which Ríos had appeared. Ríos, a former member of Poder Prieto, tweeted on June 8, claiming that the organization shared the episode without her consent and characterized them as exploiting her labor without paying her. (Poder Prieto disputed her characterization, tweeting they can’t pay her for content they didn’t produce and that they were simply recommending the episode.)
EW has reached out to Ríos for further clarification.
“It is very difficult to talk about the emotional abuse and abuse of power of a sexual predator who is loved in the world for playing a movie character like@TenochHuerta,” she wrote in a separate tweet.
Ríos is a Mexico-based saxophonist. In 2019, she was the victim of an acid attack in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. According to NBC News, her case has inspired Mexico City legislators to propose a bill that would classify acid attacks as “a distinct, serious crime equivalent to attempted femicide.”