Undoubtedly, the biggest issue in the Nigerian entertainment industry this week has been the raging feud between actresses Toyin Abraham and Liz Anjorin.
Anjorin, who was seething in anger in the series of videos she posted online, also claimed that Abraham delivered of her baby at a traditional midwife’s place, rather than at a hospital.
Shortly after Anjorin’s rants were posted online, Abraham’s lawyers wrote to Anjorin, warning her to retract her posts and apologise to Abraham or risk being sued. Responding, Anjorin’s lawyers also threatened to counter-sue Abraham.
Meanwhile, Abraham also released a video showing her at the Vedic Lifecare Hospital, Lekki, Lagos, where she delivered of her baby.
According to the narrative in the video, Abraham’s delivery was handled by foreign doctors.
As the controversy continued to rage online, many fans wondered why ‘elders’ in the industry didn’t intervene in the squabble, which they termed infantile and embarrassing.
However, in separate chats with SATURDAY BEATS, some elders in the industry expressed concern over the issue and revealed that they had actually made moves to mediate in the crisis.
The President of the Theatre Arts and Movie Practitioners Association of Nigeria, Bolaji Amusan, aka Mr Latin, told one of our correspondents that he had spoken at length with Abraham’s husband, Kolawole Ajeyemi.
“As an elder, apart from being the president of TAMPAN, I have seriously intervened. I got in touch with the Ajeyemis and spoke with the husband at length. He told me that things would be sorted out,” Amusan said.
Actor and director, Antar Laniyan, also said he had told Anjorin to stop the online attacks. The film-maker, who is noted for his discipline on- and off-screen, said, “Yesterday (Wednesday) night, I called Liz Anjorin and told her that I wanted her to stop throwing shade at Toyin Abraham. Somebody has to talk to Toyin too, to ask her to stop throwing a tantrum. I tried getting in touch with her but I couldn’t.
“Fortunately, her husband is a very good guy to me. I also got in touch with the TAMPAN president, Mr Latin, and he told me he had fixed a date when some elders would sit down with both actresses and talk to them. I just hope they will obey and stop all that they are doing.”
Veteran actress, Fausat Balogun, aka Madam Saje, said she didn’t want to get involved as she didn’t know the root of the matter.
She stated, “I don’t really know much about the issue, but Iya Rainbow and I have tried reaching out to Liz Anjorin to discuss the issue.
“Iya Rainbow called Liz Anjorin, but she said she would get back to her (Iya Rainbow) to discuss the matter. I don’t really want to get involved because I don’t know what caused their grievances.”
Actor Yomi Fash Lanso was, however, of the view that TAMPAN didn’t necessarily have to get involved in the issue, especially because the persons involved were not its members.
He said, “The president of my association, Otunba Bolaji Amusan, has spoken through video chat and I stand by what he said. Not all actors in the South-West are members of TAMPAN, so it’s very wrong to assume that our executives must wade into all actors’ feud, particularly when the issue has become public.
“If any actor has issues with a colleague and doesn’t deem it fit to consult their association’s executives but prefer to submit him or herself to public humiliation through improper acts, then such actor’s association needs to deal decisively with that member.
“At TAMPAN, we know our members and in due course, all names will be posted on our website, which will be accessible to the public. Any known actor whose name is not on our website is not a TAMPAN member. So, if such actor is found wanting in any regard, the general public should not tag us.”
Meanwhile, Mr Latin stated that the association was trying to orientate its members on ways they could resolve their differences without taking them to social media.
He said, “Most of the issues we have on social media in the movie industry come from our ladies. We are trying as much as possible to sensitise our people that not all issues should be taken to social media. In our association, there are a lot of ways one can resolve issues before going to court or social media.
“Unfortunately, most of these people are not our members. There is no way you can punish a non-member; you can only advise the person as an elder. That is why I and elders in the industry such as Adebayo Salami (Oga Bello), Jide Kosoko, Yinka Quadri are seriously working underground to make sure the issue is resolved.”
The Abeokuta-based actor said the association would no longer tolerate acts that cast the industry in a bad light.
He added, “Very soon, there is going to be a riot act that if any member does anything that impacts negatively on the industry, such a person would be punished. If you leave our organisation, there is no organisation that will accept you.”
A source close to Abraham who spoke on condition of anonymity hinted SATURDAY BEATS that some other people who were defamed in Anjorin’s posts might also sue her.
The source said, “Some other parties are also going to sue Liz. As you may have observed, Toyin has not replied to her publicly, except the letter from the lawyer and the video of the hospital which she had planned to release anyway. That was why she recorded the childbirth in the first place. In Anjorin’s post, she mentioned Toyin’s family and other people close to her. As it stands, Lizzy risks multiple lawsuits.”