‘Black Panther’ Star Tenoch Huerta Denies ‘Completely Unsubstantiated’ Sexual Assault Allegations

“I need to contest claims that are both false and offensive,” the actor says about accusations made by Mexican musician Maria Elena Rios

Tenoch Huerta
Tenoch Huerta speaks during the 95th Oscar Week Events: Makeup And Hairstyling panel at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” actor Tenoch Huerta released a statement on Instagram on Monday denying the accusations of sexual assault made against him by Mexican musician and activist María Elena Ríos, with whom he had a relationship for several months.

Ríos made the accusations after Poder Prieto, an anti-racism collective of actors and entertainment workers of which Huerta is a member, shared an episode of a podcast Ríos appeared on.

Ríos, a former member of Poder Prieto, accused the organization of making her work for free without compensating her and protecting Huerta, whom she called a “sexual predator” and responded in the affirmative when asked by another Twitter user if Huerta assaulted her. She later shared screenshots of hateful messages sent to her after she made her claims.

“It’s very difficult to talk about the emotional abuse and the abuse of power of a sexual predator who is loved around the world for playing a character in a movie such as Tenoch Huerta,” she tweeted.

Huerta responded with a lengthy statement calling Rios’ claims “false and completely unsubstantiated” and announcing that he has hired legal representation.

“Throughout it was a loving, warm and mutually supportive relationship. After it ended, however, Elena began to misrepresent our interactions both privately and in front of groups of mutual friends,” the statement read. “As a result, a few months ago, I engaged a legal team to commence the appropriate actions to protect my reputation and refute these irresponsible and false accusations that can cause great prejudice and damage.”

Huerta, who is a veteran actor in Mexico, was introduced to global audiences in last year’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” as the film’s antagonist, Namor. He also starred in Netflix’s “Narcos: Mexico” and Blumhouse’s “The Forever Purge.”

The accusations against Huerta come almost three months after another Marvel actor, Jonathan Majors, was arrested in New York after being accused of domestic violence by a woman who called 911 and is set to appear in court in connection to those charges on Tuesday. Marvel has yet to disclose its future plans regarding Majors, who is set to star in “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” in 2025.

Huerta has not been confirmed to appear in future Marvel movies, though “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” ends with a tease of future appearances by Namor.

The full statement from Huerta can be read in English and Spanish in the tweet below.