East Harlem's El Museo del Barrio announced on Monday that it would be canning its forthcoming retrospective of the filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, slated to open at the end of next month. The cancellation, which ARTnews reports was incited by local community activists, comes at the heels of comments that Jodorowsky made about his 1970 film El Topo. In interviews at the time, Jodorowsky, who directed and acted in the film, spoke about a horrific scene of sexual violence against Mara Lorenzio, who also co-stars in El Topo, as having happened in reality.

In a 2017 report in The Telegraph, the writer Helen O'Hara cites the Chilean-French director describing in the 1972 book El Topo: A Book Of The Film that he raped Lorenzio while filming the disturbing scene in the desert.

As O'Hara notes, these comments have rarely been brought up in interviews with Jodorowsky, and when they have been, he's doubled back on them. Two years ago he wrote in a lengthy Facebook post that when he attempted to sell the film in New York, he decided to launch an "attack with scandalous declarations." He says that around then, he dressed up in El Topo's garb and said things "to surprise interviewers," among them that he was "antifeminist," that he had "eaten tacos made of human meat with Diego Rivera," and "that rape scene is a real rape." Jodorowsky has not yet replied for a request for comment from Gothamist.

The museum decided to cancel the retrospective after reviewing his comments. "We are committed to addressing complex and challenging issues, but have a responsibility to do so in a way that generates productive dialogues and debate," Patrick Charpenel, Executive Director of El Museo del Barrio, told Gothamist in a statement. "However, 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."

El Topo was scheduled to screen as part of the retrospective.