About 58,000 files containing child pornography, including those under the age of 14, were found on the computer of Florian Teichtmeister, 43 years old, Austrian actor among the protagonists of the film The Corset of the Empress, candidate for Austria in the short list of 15 titles competing to enter the five Oscars for best international film. Actor of the Burgtheater in Vienna, as well as famous television face, Teichtmeister admitted his guilt, and as such he will appear in court on February 8, “assuming full responsibility – said his lawyer Michael Rami after confessing during the investigation and have always collaborated with the authorities.
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The actor, who in 2007 starred in Italy in the TV movie Caravaggio, with Alessio Boni and Elena Sofia Ricci, risks a sentence of up to two years in prison for possession of child pornography images: a “purely digital crime”, said his lawyer, denying the possibility that the voyeuristic act was accompanied by physical abuse of minors. According to Rami, the actor has already been under treatment for two years to “solve the mental problems that led him to possess the files in question”. In Austria, however, the scandal threatens to overwhelm the entire entertainment world, given that the accusation against “an actor” of the theater, whose name had remained secret, had already leaked in September 2021, on the pages of the newspapers Kronen Zeitung and Standard: The news referenced an “award-winning actor,” being investigated for “bodily harm, drug abuse, and possession of child pornography.” The debate is now flaring up around the possibility that the actor was allowed to continue working in the cinema, on TV and in the theater despite the suspicions about his conduct becoming more and more concrete.
The first to admit having had more than a suspicion was the director of the Burgtheater Martin Kuej: «As soon as we learned that that actor was Florian Teichtmeister, we immediately summoned him, he said, but there was no concrete proof of those accusations who has only now confessed. He credibly denied everything, telling us that the complaint was an act of revenge by his ex-partner. He told us that he voluntarily turned over all the computers and cell phones to the police. He said they hadn’t found anything.’
In the meantime, however, Teichtmeister who was fired this Friday from the theater – continued to act on the Viennese stage, taking lead roles in the plays Bunbury and Nebenan.
The Austrian public television ORF, for which the actor recently starred in the series Die Toten von Salzburg, has communicated that it “does not want to make or broadcast” productions involving the actor, at least until the sentence. Finally, the production of the film The Corset of the Empress could also pay a very high price, a feminist reinterpretation of the story of the Empress Sissi in which Teichtmeister plays the role of Emperor Franz Joseph, alongside the actress Vicky Krieps: after the premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, in the Un Certain Regard section, the film released in Austria in mid-December had celebrated its official entry into the shortlist preparatory to the five Oscars at the end of the year. A milestone that could now go away forever: «We are shocked and upset by the allegations about Florian Teichtmeister, the producers of the film have announced, but we will not allow the actions of a single person to ruin and discredit the incredible work and the excellent results achieved by the whole cast”. The Secretary of State for Culture Andrea Mayer (Verdi) yesterday announced his intention to proceed with a detailed examination of the events, because “such behavior, he wrote in a statement – has no place in national theatres, nor in art, in culture and in general in any sector of civil society”. Finally, he criticizes the voice of the conservative FPÖ party, which denounces the “hypocritical” handling of the case, “indicative of the duplicity and falsehood of the so-called left-wing cultural elegance – spokesman Stefan Berger said on Saturday because on this scandal for a year and a half the public TV and the Viennese theater have imposed a shameful silence».
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