Woody Allen filed a lawsuit against Amazon Studios on Thursday, seeking $68 million in damages for allegedly breaching contract after they dropped a four-movie deal and declined to distribute A Rainy Day in New York. The streaming platform cited the sexual assault allegations mounted against Allen for terminating the contract.
According to the suit filed in the Federal District Court of Manhattan, Amazon substantiated ending the deal by “referencing a 25-year old, baseless allegation against Mr. Allen.” Accusations against the director for molesting his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992 resurfaced in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which is likely the case Amazon was citing. Allen has continued to deny his role in Farrow’s assault.
“That allegation was already well known to Amazon (and the public) before Amazon entered into four separate deals with Mr. Allen,” the lawsuit said. “And, in any event, it does not provide a basis for Amazon to terminate the contract. There simply was no legitimate ground for Amazon to renege on its promises.”
After the allegations began to mount against Allen, he reportedly met with Amazon executives in December 2017. They noted that the company had faced reputable backlash given their association with Harvey Weinstein and Roy Price. One month later, they proposed delaying the release of A Rainy Day in New York until 2019. However, as the #MeToo movement began to pick up steam, sexual assault allegations against notable Hollywood veterans didn’t seem to be phasing out of the conversation.
The streaming platform then issued a notice in June 2018 ending the deal with Allen and refusing to distribute or produce the remaining films, citing, “supervening events, including renewed allegations against Mr. Allen, his own controversial comments, and the increasing refusal of top talent to work with or be associated with him in any way, all of which have frustrated the purpose of the agreement.”
Dylan Farrow’s accusations against her adoptive father had been public knowledge in the decades leading up to the #MeToo movement. Following her 2017 op-ed in the LA Times, titled “Why has the #MeToo revolution spared Woody Allen?” the allegations against Allen were widely revisited as other movie moguls in Hollywood began facing professional setbacks as a result of their sordid histories with sexual assault.