Woody Allen is suing Amazon for breach of contract, and the company isn't giving up the fight.
It filed a response this week, but if Amazon had only cared about the #MeToo allegations against the director before they returned to the mainstream, it wouldn’t be facing a $68 million lawsuit.
In court documents filed Wednesday, Amazon said the renewed attention to accusations that Allen molested his daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992 was bad for business.
“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 company said.
Ronan Farrow, Dylan’s brother and the journalist who kicked off the #MeToo movement through his reporting on Harvey Weinstein, resurfaced the allegations against Allen around the time he and Amazon signed a contract together.
Back in the 1990s, New York state child welfare investigators looked into the claims, and no charges were ever filed against Allen. He held that Dylan, a 7-year-old when the abuse allegedly occurred, was coached by her mother to make up the story.
When the allegations again picked up steam more than two decades later, Farrow was in her 30s. She has maintained her allegations, and actors have said they’ll refuse to work with Allen on projects.
By 2017, Amazon placed Allen’s latest film, “A Rainy Day in New York,” on hold. Since then, actors such as Michael Caine, Greta Gerwig, and Colin Firth have vowed not to work with the director again.
Amazon was also not pleased with Allen's 2017 comments on the "sad" downfall of Weinstein.
“Despite immediate consensus on the importance of acknowledging and addressing this issue, Allen made a series of public comments suggesting that he failed to grasp the gravity of the issues or the implications for his own career,” its complaint read.
But what did the company expect? Weinstein is credited with reviving Allen's career after Dylan Farrow's sexual abuse accusations arose. Of course Allen, who admitted he'd heard rumors about the lecherous producer, would be slow to condemn him.
But only when the cultural backlash struck did the allegations against Allen and his unsurprising callousness to abuse hit Amazon's bottom line. At least the company was transparent when it argued that renewed scrutiny of Allen’s alleged crimes wasn’t going to help it financially. But complaining that employing a potential sex offender is no longer expedient only because people suddenly care about the issue is not a good look.
In attempting to breach its contract (it’s trying to dismiss four of eight counts in Allen’s suit), Amazon may be making a smart financial move. If Allen is guilty, it’s even making a good moral one. But it’s too bad that the company didn't care about the semblance of guilt until the public did.
Either Amazon should maintain its contract now, or it never should have associated with Allen in the first place.