To mark yesterday’s world premiere of Woody Allen’s latest movie, Cafe Society, at the Cannes Film Festival, French comedic actor Laurent Lafitte jokingly compared Allen to another director, Roman Polanski.
“You’ve shot so many of your films here in Europe, and yet in the U.S., you haven’t even been convicted of rape,” Lafitte cracked in front of Allen, his cast of Cafe Society, and Allen’s wife, Soon-Yi.
Roll the clip! Pardon the Frenchman!
Allen is accused of sexually assaulting one of his adopted daughters, Dylan Farrow, when she 7. He denies the accusation, and though he was investigated by local and state authorities, the case got dropped. At the same time, Allen, then 56, admittedly was having an affair with another of Mia Farrow’s adopted daughters, then 21-year-old Soon-Yi Previn. He had taken nude photos of her when she was even younger (how young? good question, too). Allen and Farrow never married, and Soon-Yi hadn’t been included in Allen’s formal adoption of Farrow’s other children. Woody and Soon-Yi did get married five years later, and have themselves adopted two daughters.
Two years ago, Dylan Farrow reasserted her molestation accusations against Allen. And yesterday, Allen’s only known (though even that is disputed now) biological son, Ronan Farrow, published an essay in The Hollywood Reporter backing up his sister’s claims with additional eyewitness evidence of his own. He accused the media of letting questions go unasked and unanswered about his father. He took some blame himself, recalling his position on MSNBC as a host when the Bill Cosby rape accusations came flooding back into the news. And he acknowledged his complicity by staying too silent about his father and his sister. He wrote: “Perhaps I succumbed to that pressure myself. I had worked hard to distance myself from my painfully public family history and wanted my work to stand on its own. So I had avoided commenting on my sister’s allegations for years and, when cornered, cultivated distance, limiting my response to the occasional line on Twitter. My sister’s decision to step forward came shortly after I began work on a book and a television series. It was the last association I wanted. Initially, I begged my sister not to go public again and to avoid speaking to reporters about it. I’m ashamed of that, too. With sexual assault, anything’s easier than facing it in full, saying all of it, facing all of the consequences. Even now, I hesitated before agreeing to The Hollywood Reporter‘s invitation to write this piece, knowing it could trigger another round of character assassination against my sister, my mother or me.”
So the media, hot on the heels of Farrow’s essay and Lafitte’s jokes, responded today when some of them met with Allen for a press luncheon to promote Cafe Society.
Allen told Vanity Fair‘s Julie Miller that he hadn’t read his son’s essay and wasn’t going to address the accusations any longer.
“I never read anything about me,” Allen told Miller. “Any of these interviews I do, anything. I said everything I had to say about that whole issue in the New York Times, I don’t know if you read it, some time ago. I have moved so far past that. You know, I never think about it. I work, and that’s the end of it for me. I said I was never gonna comment on it again because I could just go on endlessly.”
Even if his son had weighed in once more. Allen shrugged, according to Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan. “I’ve said all I have to say about it.”
What about that joke by Lafitte, though?
Allen told Buchanan that was fair game.
“I’m completely in favor of comedians making any jokes they want,” he said. “I am a nonjudgmental, non-censorship person on jokes. I’m a comic myself, and I feel they should be free to make whatever jokes they want.” Was he offended by the joke? “I’m never offended. It would take a lot to offend me.”
Allen did tell reporters he was put off by how long the opening remarks and ceremonies lasted before starting the screening of his film.
THR did speak with Lafitte today, though, who said: “What I’ve learned only just this morning is that Woody Allen’s son made a statement yesterday with accusations [involving rape]. I didn’t know that. When I wrote this joke, it was more a joke about Europe and why one of the greatest American directors spent years in Europe, because he didn’t have to because he wasn’t accused of rape in his own country, compared to Roman Polanski. It was [meant] as joke about American puritanism and the fact that it is surprising that an American director wants to do so many movies in Europe. I didn’t know about the other stuff.”