Franco Zeffirelli Accused Of Sexual Assault

By Francisco Salazar

Franco Zeffirelli has been accused of sexual misconduct.

The legendary opera and film director has been accused by actor Johnathon Schaech. The actor told People magazine that when he was 22-years-old and worked on the film “Sparrow” in 1992, Zeffirelli had tried to seduce him from the start. And while he was filming the movie in Sicily, the actor said Zeffirelli got a key to his room and let himself in, molesting Schaech in his bed.

As a result of the allegations, Pippo Zeffirelli, the director’s son issued a statement denying the claims. In his statement he said, the allegations appeared to be “a true and proper vendetta,” and he questioned the timing. Zeffirelli’s son also noted that Schaech was furious when the director decided to dub his voice due to a throat problem that had made it difficult for the actor and also noted that Schaech had maintained friendly contact over the years and inquired about the 94-year-old Zeffirelli’s health last month.

The director’s son also noted that Zeffirelli’s health is too poor to allow him to answer or even understand Schaech’s allegations.

Zeffirelli was nominated for the Oscar for his work on “La Traviata” and for Best Director for “Romeo and Juliet.” He has directed numerous opera productions and is best known for his work at the Metropolitan Opera where he directed “La Bohème,” “Carmen,” “Turandot,” and “Tosca” among other works. He also directed for the Arena di Verona and at the Teatro alla Scala.