PARIS – Woody Allen’s French film distributor has defended the American director against sexual abuse claims, saying he has been unfairly caught up in the fallout surrounding the #MeToo movement.
Writing in the French weekly Le Point, Mars Films head Stephane Celerier dismissed the furor over renewed allegations by Allen’s adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, that Allen molested her in an attic in 1992 when she was 7. Celerier describes the accusation as a family drama caught in the crosshairs of the #MeToo movement amid fallout from the allegations of rape and sexual harassment against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein.
It is “shameless opportunism,” Celerier said of the fresh attacks against the director in the media that he said “taint the dignity of real victims.”
Celerier’s company is behind the distribution of Allen’s latest movie “Wonder Wheel,” starring Kate Winslet and Justin Timberlake, which opened in French cinemas this week to lukewarm ticket sales.
His defense of Allen is the latest chapter in an emerging narrative in France, particularly in its film industry, that the Hollywood anti-abuse campaign has gone too far.
Farrow in January gave her first on-camera interview to “CBS This Morning” about her longstanding abuse allegations against the 82-year-old filmmaker. Allen has long denied the allegations and was investigated but not charged.
Since the Weinstein allegations, France – the country synonymous with love – has been stumbling as it addresses the issue of sexual harassment and violence against women.
Last month, French actress Catherine Deneuve set the feminist world ablaze by co-signing a letter accusing the post-Weinstein groundswell of allegations of being puritanical.
In November, France’s famed film institute La Cinematheque Francaise went ahead with a retrospective of works by director Roman Polanski despite opposition by feminist groups. The institute said its role was not to moralize. The Polish-born director in the 1970s pleaded guilty to having sex in the U.S. with a 13-year-old girl whom he plied with champagne and Quaaludes.
Polanski, who lives in France, and Allen continue to be highly revered by the French public. Polanski was honored last year as president of the Cesar awards, France’s answer to the Oscars.
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