The Austrian film and TV industry has moved quickly to distance itself from Austrian actor Florian Teichmeister, who was charged Friday with child pornography. Teichtmeister is Austria’s official Oscar submission, the male lead in “Corsage.” Meanwhile, the film’s producers and its director-writer have released statements about what they knew and when.
Austrian state broadcaster ORF, which co-financed “Corsage,” announced it would pull all shows featuring Teichmeister, and the Cineplex movie theater chain said “Corsage” would be pulled from its schedule. Vienna’s Bergtheater, Austria’s national theater, immediately canceled the actor’s contract.
Teichtmeister’s lawyer, Michael Ramey, said the actor wanted to plead guilty to charges related to possession of 58,000 child pornography. Teichtmeister is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 8. He faces up to two years in prison.
Film AG, the Vienna-based film production company behind “Corsage,” released a statement from the film’s producers, Alexander Glehr and Johanna Scherz, and its director-writer, Marie Kreutzer.
It said: “Since the end of shooting in July 2021, Florian Teichmeister has no employment relationship with us. Nevertheless, we would have expected him to inform us the moment the police investigation into the allegations began. The opposite was the case: after the rumors surfaced after filming in autumn 2021, Florian Teichmeister, in response to clear inquiries about these rumours, assured us (and others) definitively of their falsity.”
The statement said they learned about the allegations through media reports on Friday.
It adds: “In the meantime, we have and will inform our co-producers, national and international distribution partners, financiers and sponsors, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of more details about Florian Teichmeister’s publicly available information. Continue to do so.”
“We don’t want one actor’s gross misconduct to ruin the incredible performance of the entire cast and crew of the film. But whatever happens to the film now: the love and recognition that ‘Corsage’ has received cannot be taken away.
In the statement, Kreutzer said: “I am saddened and outraged that a feminist film on which more than 300 people from all over Europe have worked for years could be tarnished and damaged by the horrific actions of one man. But with the amount of videos and images of sexual violence against children, I am more saddened and outraged by what is distributed and consumed. We cannot see the depths of our fellow human beings. This case brutally illuminates how powerless we are in the face of such a terrible thing and how urgently political, law enforcement, but also psychotherapeutic measures are needed.”