Amazon Studios has hit back at Woody Allen‘s $68 million lawsuit for scrapping its four-film deal with the director claiming in new court documents the move was “justified” because Allen “sabotaged” his movies’ success with controversial comments about the #MeToo movement and sex abuse allegations against him.
The studio filed documents in Manhattan federal court Wednesday seeking to dismiss some of the claims from Allen’s February suit, in which the “Annie Hall” filmmaker accused Amazon of breach of contract for backing out of the deal based on the already well-known molestation allegations from his daughter Dylan Farrow.
Amazon, however, blames Allen for making “a series of public comments” in the wake of sexual misconduct claims against producer Harvey Weinstein that suggested he “failed to grasp the gravity of the issues or the implications for his own career” and wound up tarnishing his image.
“Allen expressed sympathy for Weinstein as well as his victims, describing the situation as ‘very sad for everybody involved,’” the court documents read.
“Then Allen added: ‘You don’t want it to lead to a witch-hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself.’”
The studio adds that after Dylan then renewed her allegations that Allen molested her as a kid charges he has long denied the filmmaker “publicly dismissed those statements as ‘cynically using’ #MeToo for attention.”
“Allen’s statements came out just as Amazon and Allen were preparing to promote Allen’s film ‘Wonder Wheel,’ effectively sabotaging those efforts,” Amazon charges.
“The response from the film industry was swift and damning. Scores of actors and actresses expressed profound regret for having worked with Allen in the past, and many declared publicly that they would never work with him in the future.”
The studio claims Allen then “doubled down” with more problematic public statements, including that he “should be the poster boy for the MeToo movement” because he had “only [been] accused by one woman in a child custody case.”
“Understood in the broader context, Allen’s actions and their cascading consequences ensured that Amazon could never possibly receive the benefit of its four-picture agreement (despite already having paid Allen a $10 million advance upon signing),” the court documents allege.
Amazon’s new motion is only seeking to dismiss four of the eight claims in Allen’s suit, which it claims are “duplicative of their central breach claims or otherwise fail as a matter of law.”
Allen’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.