An Oscar-winning filmmaker claims a pervert is pretending to be him to phone up US actresses, including some in New York — even tricking a handful to expose themselves during video chats.
“Currently there is some conman creep who is pretending to be me phoning up actresses in the United States,” animator Hugh Welchman warned his followers in an Instagram post.
“Please know that I would never cold-call actresses, actors or any crew,” he said, urging victims to contact the police.
The UK filmmaker — who won an Oscar in 2007 for his animated short “Peter and the Wolf” — told The Hollywood Reporter that so far 13 women have reported getting tricked, most from New York and L.A.
The LAPD is investigating, and the Poland-based filmmaker has also filed reports with British police and the FBI’s identity theft website, he said.
The conman, who many victims say has an American accent unlike Welchman’s English one, usually starts by asking his victims to join him in yoga-style breathwork before asking increasingly sexual questions, several actresses told the Hollywood Reporter.
He persuaded some to later have video chats — claiming his camera was broken, so he could only see them — and at least four said they exposed themselves as part of his claims to be casting women comfortable with nudity in roles. He has also asked some to meet him, but so far none of his victims appear to have agreed.
New York-based actress Kyle Ocasio told the trade mag that she was called on Sept. 14 by the imposter she said sounded “like a creepy yoga teacher.”
He made no attempt to impersonate the English accent of Welchman, who co-directed the 2017’s Vincent van Gogh biographical drama “Loving Vincent.”
“Maybe because I’m American he thought, f–k it, she’ll never know,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.
He asked Ocasio if she would “accept his total authority,” she claimed, a common request by the imposter who told another woman she was “talking too much” because he likes to “control the conversation.”
L.A.-based actress Alexis Capozzi called police and started recording the imposter’s calls after they became “far too sexual in nature,” she said.
“He’s the perfect conman,”Capozzi told the trade mag.
“He’s preying on a vulnerable industry at the most vulnerable time. He knows what he’s doing and he’s been doing it for months,” she said.
Welchman said the imposter may still be making the calls, with some reported to have happened after his warning on Instagram.
“Obviously it’s distressing for me as it’s my identity,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
“But it’s much more distressing for the women who he’s trying to dominate and exploit.”
The LAPD did not comment to the magazine about the investigation.