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‘Sudani from Nigeria’ actor settles payment row, says ‘no racism in Kerala’

Samuel Robinson has taken back his allegations that he was under-compensated for the Malayalam film because he is African.

Nigerian actor Samuel Robinson has withdrawn the allegation that he was underpaid for his role in the Malayalam film Sudani from Nigeria. The actor had claimed last week that he had received inadequate remuneration from producers Happy Hours Entertainment because he is African.

Sudani from Nigeria was released on March 23.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Robinson wrote that he had been contacted by the producers and “received confirmation receipt of payment for reasonable sum as salary” for the film. He also took back the accusation of racial discrimination. “I previously ascribed racial discrimination to the treatment I had received but deeper enlightenment and explanation by The Happy Hours Entertainment make me believe that this was not a case of racial discrimination but a case of misunderstanding, miscommunication and misinformation,” he wrote. “I would like to apologise to any person from Kerala who was offended by my previous statements. As this particular case is now confirmed to not be racial discrimination, I want to state that there is almost completely no Racism in Kerala and I believe Kerala is one of the friendliest places in Asia for an African to visit.”

Directed by Zakariya Mohammed, Sudani from Nigeria is the story of Samuel (Robinson), a football player who becomes part of a club in Kerala ahead of a seven-a-side football match. The film has reportedly done well in Kerala and is now expected to be released all over India.

In a Facebook post on March 31, Robinson had claimed that he had been underpaid for the role as compared to Indian actors. “The producers offered me far less money than Indian actors who are not half as popular, experienced or accomplished as I am would normally earn,” he wrote. “...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.”

His remarks had drawn some criticism. In a Facebook post, Aanandam director Ganesh Raj claimed that Robinson had been misled by “someone who has no clue about industry standard pay”.

The director added, “Sad to see such strong accusations like Racism being thrown around with such a carefree attitude. Randomly accusing such well known names isn’t the right way to go about it. Best thing to do is to research your facts before you put it out there.”

In a second post, Robinson said he was “paid far less than the Malayalam newcomers are normally paid”.

He added, “I accepted this amount less than my usual quote in Nigeria because I was under the impression that it was a very small budget independent movie. 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 seven days due to the successful promotions.”

Robinson has now deleted these posts. In his latest remarks, the actor said that the reaction of some people from the Malayalam film industry prompted him to ascribe the inadequate compensation to racial discrimination. “To address the Jabs and Mockery posted against me and supported by some well-known actors and directors in Malayalam film Industry; people like these are the ones who made me ascribe racial discrimination to the treatment I had received in the first place,” he wrote.

Sudani from Nigeria.
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