Popular filmmaker Kunle Afolayan has denied an allegation by actor Mike Ezuruonye that he hates the Igbo and does not like casting them in his movies.
Mike, 38, had made the allegation in a social media post on Sunday after Kunle shared the private message of an Instagram follower named Mwandu Chibwe who accused Mike of fraud.
In a statement sent to Qed.ng on Monday, Kunle, 45, said the actor misunderstood him.
“While I did not see my innocent reaction to an indicting post by a random IG follower as capable of further hurting my friend and colleague, Mike Ezuruonye, to be labelled a tribalist in retaliation is very unfortunate,” he wrote.
“Honestly, I was misunderstood. My reaction, which was rather spontaneous, was to chide the IG follower who appeared to be reporting the actor to me. And I merely asked (in Yoruba) how all of that was my business. It was like saying ‘when did I become an officer of the law’. Obviously, my colleague took the context of my post wrongly, and angrily accused me of tribalism.
“I do not know what gave birth to such misrepresentation. However, while I am famous for living and promoting everything that my tradition stands for as a Yoruba man, I have maintained mutual friendship with people of other extractions, Igbos especially. It is therefore not in the interest of both of us (Mike Ezuruonye and I) to politicise our emotion with tribal coloration. For me, this is undeserving of our other friends, and goes to offend the sensibility of genuine relationships we have each cultivated with people of other tribes.”
On how he has been promoting inter-tribal relationships through his works, Kunle said the facts are there for all to see.
“The ideals are reflected in the themes and plots of my movies, some of which include “The Figurine”, “The Bridge”, “Phone Swap”, “Omugwo”, and “Roti”,” he added.
The filmmaker said he has offered an olive branch on the matter.
“I have told Mike ‘I’m sorry’ since he found my post offensive. I am also apologising to anyone who also may have seen things from his point of view. Ire o,” he said.