The wife of Alejandro Jodorowsky, a Chilean-born artist whose show was canceled this week by El Museo del Barrio over concerns about reports that he had said decades ago that he raped an actress in a movie he directed, issued an email statement on Wednesday defending him.
“Words are not acts,” wrote Pascale Montandon-Jodorowsky, adding that her husband “never raped anyone.”
In announcing the cancellation on Monday, El Museo cited events during the making of the surreal 1970 western “El Topo.” In 2017, The Telegraph, in Britain, published an article citing a 1972 book “El Topo: A Book of the Film,” that included a statement by Mr. Jodorowsky who played a character in the movie, saying that a scene that depicted him raping the actress was real and not staged.
According to the book, Mr. Jodorowsky said: “I really raped her. And she screamed.”
Over the years Mr. Jodorowsky has disavowed that account, The Telegraph reported, saying that he was trying to shock people or arguing that an actual rape would not have been possible on a film set. But El Museo’s executive director, Patrick Charpenel, said in a statement on Monday: “While the issues raised by Jodorowsky’s practice should be examined, we have come to the conclusion that an exhibition is not the right platform for doing so at this time.”
In her statement, the artist’s wife called Mr. Jodorowsky a “respectful, generous and deeply good man” who had highlighted “female power” in his work but had been subject to “attacks, scandals, intimidations, threats, slanders.”
Ms. Montandon-Jodorowsky also criticized El Museo and Mr. Charpenel, saying the decision to cancel what had been planned as a 50-year retrospective had been driven by “fear of scandalous rumors they have fed themselves by not stating the truth and by parting ways from the artist they were about to honor.”
El Museo decline to comment on Ms. Montandon-Jodorowsky’s statement.
In the exhibition, which was to have opened on Feb. 28, the museum planned to show “visual, literary, filmic and archival material” drawn largely from Mr. Jodorowsky’s personal documentation, including items related to “El Topo.”