'Sudani From Nigeria' actor Samuel Robinson alleges racial discrimination, slams producers for not paying him promised remuneration
The 19-year-old Nigerian star said he was paid far less than his co-actors who are “not half as popular, experienced or accomplished” as he is, and said it was due to his skin colour.
Nigerian actor Samuel Abiola Robinson, who played the title role in the Malayalam hit film 'Sudani from Nigeria' which released last week, alleged on his social media pages that he faced racial discrimination and wasn't paid the promised remuneration by the producers despite the film becoming a runaway success.
In a Facebook post on Friday night, the 19-year-old star said he was paid far less than his co-actors who are “not half as popular, experienced or accomplished” as he is. He wrote: "I'm saying this now because I cannot sit back and allow it happen to another helpless young black actor. I believe that I was a victim of racial discrimination while in Kerala. It was nothing violent or directly in my face but for my role in Sudani from Nigeria, the producers offered me far less money than Indian actors who are not half as popular or accomplished as I am would normally earn."
He said that he was 'better enlightened' only after discussing payments with several young actors. "I am of the opinion that this happened purely because of my skin colour and the assumption that all Africans are poor and don't know the value of money."
Calling Zakariya, the film's director and writer as "a good guy with a good heart and a brilliant director", Robinson said there was little Zakariya could do to help him as he wasn't financing it himself. "Promises were made to me by the producers while shooting to pay me more if the movie eventually becomes successful but no promise has been honoured and now I am back in Nigeria. I believe the promises were simply tools of Manipulation to get me to eagerly commit the 5 months of availability for work being October, November, December 2017, January and March 2018 for the shoot and promotion of the movie."
He said that he decided to open up about it as "the movie is a huge commercial success now and i am grateful for all the love that the fans have shown me and i have been privileged to experience the warm culture of Kerala but i can no longer suffer in silence about this. As i am black, it is my responsibility to speak up because it could ease the suffering of the next generation of black actors. Say no to racial or caste discrimination." In a video shared later, he said he was speaking to the media because the producers had gone back on their word. He was allegedly promised more money before he returned to Nigeria but he still hasn't received it.
In a second post, the actor claimed that he accepted an amount less than his usual quote back in Nigeria as he understood that the film was a low budget, independent venture. "Several citations off the internet confirm that this movie was in fact moderately budgeted. I have wholeheartedly supported the promotion of the movie in expectation of a positive financial compensation before returning to Nigeria as was promised. The movie has already nearly doubled its budget at the box office in just 7 days due to the successful promotions. I do not think that Kerala people are racist as i experienced no such racist treatment from the general Kerala public. I very much enjoyed my stay in Kerala, the culture, the Biryani and all. I am offended and feel that it is unfair that i should have this much unexpected scrutiny on my activity and general life without the cushion of decent financial payments which could have easily been afforded by the producers."
In a third post today, he said that he was paid much less than 5 Lakh Indian rupees (lesser than he said in the video) and that he was ashamed to state the actual amount as most newcomers in the Indian film industry got between 10-20 lakhs.
In an earlier interview with TNIE, Samuel said the positive response to the film was overwhelming: “They keep saying, 'I love you Sudu'. And that has become my name. Everybody keeps calling me that. I feel blessed to be part of this film. I feel very welcome.” Of Kerala, he said, “The people are very kind and have this huge family network and kinship with each other. There were numerous occasions when we would be filming somewhere and some random family would come to the set and invite us for dinner. I was amazed by their kindness. In Nigeria, people are very independent and it is 'every man for himself'. So, this was a refreshing change for me.”
As requested by many press organizations, here is a video link containing the details of my payment and the promises that were made to me.— Samuel A Robinson (@SamuelRobinsonX) March 31, 2018
Samuel Robinson's first post
Samuel Robinson's second post
'Sudani From Nigeria', which released on March 23, was a commercial success. The film tells the story of a Nigerian football player who joins a club in Malappuram, Kerala for the sevens football match.