Son denies molest allegations against director Zeffirelli

FILE - In this, Thursday, July 6, 2017 file photo, Giuseppe (Pippo) Corsi Zeffirelli, son of Italian director Franco Zeffirelli, poses for portraits d

FILE - In this, Thursday, July 6, 2017 file photo, Giuseppe (Pippo) Corsi Zeffirelli, son of Italian director Franco Zeffirelli, poses for portraits d

MILAN (AP) — The son of Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli has issued a statement denying sexual molestation allegations against his father from actor Johnathon Schaech.

Pippo Zeffirelli said in the statement Thursday that the allegations appeared to be "a true and proper vendetta."

Schaech wrote in People magazine that he was 22 years old when the elder Zeffirelli tried to seduce him while they were working on the film "Sparrow" 25 years ago. He said the director then molested him in his bed during filming in Sicily.

Zeffirelli's son says Schaech was furious when the director decided to dub his voice due to a throat problem that had made it difficult for the actor.

The son's statement said Schaech had maintained friendly contact over the years and inquired about the 94-year-old Zeffirelli's health last month.