BROOKLYN (CN) — A.M. Lukas, writer and filmmaker known for playing themself in the Starz limited series “The Chair,” claims in a lawsuit filed Monday in Brooklyn federal court that Portuguese DJ and actor Nuno Lopes sexually assaulted them after meeting at a film festival in 2006.
Lukas, who is also known for directing “Hollidaysburg” and “One Cambodian Family Please for My Pleasure,” starring British actor Emily Mortimer, says they met Lopes at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2006 and lost consciousness at some point during the evening.
When they could remember fragments of the night the next morning, Lukas recalled Lopes assaulting them.
"What Lukas does remember from the remainder of that night and the ensuing morning hours returned to them in isolated flashes because Lukas’s memory had become fragmented," Lukas says in the complaint. "They remember Mr. Lopes kneeling in front of them in the morning light, holding their legs up as he thrust his penis into their body; they remember Mr. Lopes also thrusting his penis into them from behind; they remember Mr. Lopes saying, 'This condom is killing me,' as he peeled it off his flaccid penis; they remember Mr. Lopes masturbating over their naked, motionless body, presumably in an effort to become erect; and they remember trying to put their clothes on and Mr. Lopes taking them off. Finally, they remember Mr. Lopes calling them a cab in the early morning hours of April 29, 2006."
Lukas says Lopes, an award-winning actor best known for his roles in “Saint George” and “Lines of Wellington,” also gave them his phone number.
As their memory began to come back, Lukas says they went to the hospital where a rape kit was performed. From the hospital, Lukas called Lopes and he confirmed they had sex the night before.
“We cannot accept a world in which perpetrators of heinous, inhumane behavior are able to live their lives out in the open, with impunity and no social consequences, while their victims suffer in silence,” Lukas said in a statement. “I am not looking forward to the ways in which I am certain that Lopes’ lawyers will attempt to humiliate and invalidate me. But I won’t be deterred from securing justice.”
Lukas says that, as a result of the assault, they were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, suffered a manic-depressive episode and has experienced suicidal ideation.
They say they also experienced “depersonalization” or psychologically “leaving one’s body” during the assault, which is a traumatic stress response closely associated with human-caused, intentional trauma.
“Sometimes it was as though Lukas was outside their own body, watching Lopes violate them from an upper corner of the room,” Lukas says in the complaint.
Lukas says the attack — which occurred before they broke into the movie business — also caused them to file for short-term disability payments after they were fired from Urban Outfitters because they missed consecutive days of work due to the anti-HIV medication they needed to take after the attack.
On the forms, they said they were experiencing “extreme nausea and abdominal pain caused from preventative HIV medication” taken after being assaulted.
Lukas says the PTSD symptoms also prevented them from pursuing professional projects when they lost representation at a Hollywood agency and was forced to forfeit a $75,000 filmmaking grant they were awarded by the Tribeca Film Institute.
According to the complaint, Lukas was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder which their doctors say was precipitated by the unprocessed trauma of the attack.
Michael Willemin, a partner at Wigdor Law, represents Lukas, who seeks compensatory and punitive damages on a claim of sexual battery.
“We are inspired by our client’s bravery in coming forward to hold Lopes accountable,” Willemin said in a statement. “As we have seen time and time again, the film industry has repeatedly given license to men like Lopes to engage in sexual assault without consequence.”Follow @NikaSchoonover
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