‘Black Panther’ actor Tenoch Huerta denies abuse allegations made by musician María Elena Ríos

Gareth Cattermole
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Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta, best known for his role as Namor in the Marvel film “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” is denying allegations of abuse made by saxophonist María Elena Ríos.

Allegations of emotional and sexual abuse surfaced over the weekend after Ríos, who is also an activist in Mexico who survived an acid attack last year, posted about it on social media.

“It is very difficult to talk about the emotional abuse and abuse of power of a sexual predator who is loved around the world for playing a character in a movie like @TenochHuerta,” Ríos tweeted in Spanish. “Charming in appearance, the great hallmark of a narcissist + a good helping of victimization.”

In a statement sent Monday to NBC News, Huerta characterized the accusations as “false and completely unsubstantiated.”

He said the accusations have “spread like wildfire — and I cannot let it go unchallenged any longer.”

In two other tweets, Ríos addressed the skeptics who wondered why is she opening up about this now.

“‘And why didn’t you report it?’ Ask those who live in a chauvinist country, where justice is unattainable where they almost kill you and still they don’t believe you and justice doesn’t come,” Ríos said in a first tweet.

In a second tweet, Ríos shared screenshots of hateful messages she has received via Instagram following her allegations.

“Why did I wait to talk about it? Because I have a process. Why didn’t I report it? Because I was afraid that this would happen: people who refuse to believe that a SUPER HERO is an abuser, manipulator and sexual predator,” Ríos wrote alongside the screenshots.

Huerta said he dated Ríos for several months about a year ago. He characterized the relationship as “entirely consensual at all times, as countless others can attest.”

“Throughout it was a loving, warm and mutually supportive relationship,” Huerta said in his statement.

After the couple ended their relationship, Ríos “began to misrepresent our interactions both privately and in front of groups of mutual friends,” Huerta said.

This led Huerta to enlist a legal team a few months ago “to commence the appropriate actions to protect my reputation and refute these irresponsible and false accusations that can cause great prejudice and damage,” the actor said.

“Although I am by no means perfect, I know that these allegations are simply untrue,” Huerta said. “And while I will always work to improve myself, I need to contest claims that are both false and offensive.”

Representatives of Marvel and Disney, Marvel’s parent company and the distributor of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” did not respond to requests for comment.

Huerta’s character in the much-awaited film was hugely popular, particularly among fans thirsty to see Indigenous Mexicans represented in mainstream media. Huerta’s portrayal of Namor, the mutant leader of an underwater kingdom based on Mayan and Aztec influences, delivered on fans’ expectations.

After receiving widespread praise for his role, Huerta was named as one of nine breakthrough entertainers of 2022 by The Associated Press.

“I am deeply grateful to my family and the people who have supported me and greatly appreciate everyone who is willing to look at the facts and reflect before rushing to an untrue and unjust conclusion,” Huerta concluded in his statement.

Ríos did not respond to an NBC News email seeking further comment.

This story originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com