Sion Sono, the prolific Japanese director known for films like Love Exposure and Antiporno, has been accused of sexual harassment after Shukan Josei published allegations against him from multiple anonymous actresses. According to Variety, the piece alleged that Sono made sexual advances to “most of [his] leading ladies” and linked his alleged predatory practices to his acting workshops. An upcoming workshop has reportedly been canceled, though the director did not publicly respond to the allegations. “Now that Sion Sono is outed as a sexual predator who preys on young actresses luring them with roles in his films,” Letters from Iwo Jima actor Matsuzaki Yuki tweeted in response to the Shukan Josei report, “I wonder if ANY of the major Japanese film studios and TV networks would condemn such predatory practices?” (Yuki previously alleged on social media that Sono had a history of sexual harassment and power harassment.)
Over the course of his career, Sono developed a reputation for strange, sometimes controversial work that often includes sex and graphic violence. His wife, actress Megumi Kagurazaka, starred in many of his films, including Why Don’t You Play in Hell? and Cold Fish. Sono’s 2021 film Prisoners of the Ghostland, which starred Nicolas Cage, was his English-language debut. The director’s other recent works include the 2019 Netflix crime film The Forest of Love and the 2020 film Red Post on Escher Street. According to Variety, the allegations against Sono come after two other high-profile figures in the Japanese entertainment industry, actor Kinoshita Houka and director Sakaki Hideo, recently faced sexual-harassment allegations. HuffPost Japan reported that six well-known Japanese film directors issued a statement last month condemning the state of the industry with regard to sexual misconduct and abuse of power.