Casting for Sex & Money

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There’s no shortage of women eager to become Indonesia’s next top celebrity. One conman took advantage of this hunger for fame by promising movie roles to aspiring actresses in return for sex and money.

Using fake Facebook and BlackBerry accounts, Didik Nur Budiaji (29) spent five years posing online as award-winning film director Hanung Bramantyo. He would send friend requests to attractive women, especially dangdut singers, and then offer them an opportunity to get into movies.

When meeting with the women in person, Didik gave himself the name Prabu Erlangga and claimed to be Hanung’s assistant for casting. Recently he claimed to have been the assistant director for last year’s biopic Soekarno: Indonesia Merdeka.

His victims were asked to pay from Rp.3 million to Rp.10 million to guarantee successful casting. Next, they would be asked to provide nude photos. At subsequent casting sessions in Jakarta hotels or karaoke bars, Didik instructed the women to undress while he filmed them. He also allegedly had sex with those who were willing.

Didik was arrested by police in a sting operation on the night of July 23. He had earlier persuaded a woman, H.S., to transfer Rp.10 million to him in return for a part in a bogus movie called Rok Jakarta (Jakarta Skirt). He then suggested they meet, so he could audition her for a bathroom scene. Suspicious, the woman telephoned Hanung’s wife, actress Zaskia Mecca.

Zaskia had for years heard that someone was impersonating her husband and falsely claiming to be his casting agent. Now she had a chance to catch the perpetrator. She told H.S. to agree to meet Didik for the casting session at a karaoke venue in Senayan City mall. Then she called the police. When Didik asked H.S. to undress, she secretly sent a text message to Zaskia, whereupon police stormed the private room.

Hanung later tweeted that Didik had confessed to duping about 20 women. Police have urged victims to come forward to help build a strong case against the conman, who faces a five year jail sentence if convicted of fraud. Several reports said the victims were afraid to complain because Didik had allegedly threatened them with black magic.

After Didik’s arrest, a few women said they had “nearly” become victims. Model Cinta Ratu Nasya said she was first approached by Didik three years ago with offers of movie roles, but her schedule became busy so she never attended his requested casting sessions. “God protected me. I almost wanted to meet but luckily it never happened,” she said, adding that she now has a manager to handle all offers of work.

Dewi Sanca, a pink-haired dangdut singer whose act involves gyrating with a python, heard from Didik after she opened a Facebook account in the name of Dewi Sanca Ratu Ular in April. She said “Prabu” claimed to be a film financier and invited her to Hotel Maharani, a three-star hotel in South Jakarta, for a casting session but would not allow her to bring her assistant or her manager. She cancelled the meeting, but Didik continued to pester her for topless photos, as well as details of her bra size and underpants size.

Dewi said several dangdut singers fell victim, including Rency Milano. “There was another dangdut singer who was asked to choose between having sex or paying Rp.15 million, but I don’t know the outcome,” she said.

Rency confirmed that Didik, posing as Hanung, had initiated contact via Facebook about two years ago. She said she transferred only Rp.2 million to him – after he claimed he could sell her some traditional medicine to enlarge her breasts.

Ratu Tyna Rengganies, another singer, said Didik often asked her to send him sexy and nude photos. She said she declined to attend a proposed casting session in a hotel room.

Shireen Sungkar, a 22-year-old soap opera actress, said one of her friends had been tricked into sending topless photos and money to Didik. She urged police to deal harshly with him to discourage similar fraud.

Didik denied raping any of his victims. He said the sex was always consensual, as the women thought they would be rewarded with movie roles.

Zaskia said the case should be a lesson to aspiring actresses not to get naked during casting sessions and not to meet directors in hotel rooms. She also urged them not to be fooled by fake social media accounts and not to pay for acting roles.

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Kenneth Yeung is a Jakarta-based editor.