Marvel star Tenoch Huerta accused of sexual assault by musician María Elena Ríos

Tenoch Huerta smiling in a beige suit and matching turtleneck.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” star Tenoch Huerta has been accused of sexual assault.
(Vianney Le Caer / Invision / AP)
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Musician María Elena Ríos has accused “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” star Tenoch Huerta of sexual assault.

In a series of tweets, the saxophonist and activist called the Marvel actor a “sexual predator” while accusing him of sexually assaulting her. The Times has reached out to Ríos for more details on the allegations. A representative for Disney, which distributed “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” did not respond Sunday to The Times’ request for comment.

On Monday, Huerta called Ríos’ accusation “irresponsible” and “completely unsubstantiated” in a statement claiming that he dated Ríos “for several months” and that their relationship “was entirely consensual at all times.”


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

Ríos leveled the allegations this week after an activist organization based in Mexico, Poder Prieto, shared on social media an episode of the podcast “El Feisbuk de la Malinche” featuring Ríos. Huerta is a spokesperson for Poder Prieto, a collective of actors, members of the media and other figures working to combat racism in the entertainment industry and beyond.

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Ríos, a former member of Poder Prieto, accused the organization via Instagram of sharing the podcast episode without her consent. She also alleged that Poder Prieto made her work for free.

Additionally, she accused Poder Prieto of claiming to be a community of anti-racists while being violent behind closed doors and defending Huerta.

On Friday, Poder Prieto said in a tweet that it could not pay Ríos for something it did not produce, insisting that the organization did not publish the podcast episode but simply recommended it along with other content. The collective did not respond to her comments regarding Huerta.

Ríos promptly replied by accusing Poder Prieto of protecting Huerta, whom she called a “sexual predator.” She added that she made it “very clear” to Poder Prieto upon leaving the organization that it did not have her permission to publish anything involving her.


Poder Prieto did not immediately respond Sunday to The Times’ request for comment.

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When another Twitter user asked Ríos if Huerta had sexually assaulted her, Ríos answered in the affirmative but did not provide further details.

Ríos also used the social media site to explain why she didn’t speak out sooner, calling Mexico “machista” and citing a culture of injustice and violence against women. She also shared screenshots of hateful and threatening messages she has received from strangers in response to her allegations.

“It’s very difficult to talk about the emotional abuse and the abuse of power of a sexual predator who is loved around the world for playing a character in a movie such as Tenoch Huerta,” Ríos tweeted on Saturday.

Huerta has starred in dozens of movies and TV series, including “The Forever Purge,” “Narcos: Mexico” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” His portrayal of Namor, the layered antagonist of “Wakanda Forever,” drew widespread acclaim and was hailed for boosting onscreen representation for darker-skinned, Indigenous people.

“This is the first superhero with an Indigenous background, a Mesoamerican background,” Huerta told The Times in November. “It’s a brown-skinned guy. This ancient culture is in his roots. And he speaks like me. We are making history. I told them, ‘Let’s do something to be proud of.’”

See Ríos’ tweets in Spanish below.

Times staff writer Carlos De Loera contributed to this report.