Laurent Lafitte says he didn’t know there were sexual abuse allegations around Woody Allen when the French comedian made that rape joke at the Cannes film festival, according to the Guardian.
There have been numerous sexual abuse allegations circulating around the Blue Jasmine filmmaker. And so that joke made by Laurent Lafitte about Allen being convicted for rape wasn’t received as well as the French actor had expected.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) May 13, 2016
The rape joke came when Laurent Lafitte was introducing Allen’s film Café Society at the Cannes film festival on Thursday, saying that the veteran filmmaker is making lots of movies in Europe.
“It’s very nice that you’ve been shooting so many movies in Europe, even if you are not being convicted for rape in the U.S.”
Laurent Lafitte’s joke came just a day after renewed reports of Allen’s sexual assault against his adopted daughter named Dylan began circulating on the internet. On Wednesday, it was reported by the Hollywood Reporter that the filmmaker’s estranged son, Ronan Farrow, restated his support for Dylan’s allegations that Allen raped her as a child.
But Laurent Lafitte told the U.S. trade bible that he had no idea Allen had been accused of rape when he told the joke. In fact, Lafitte, who stars in Paul Verhoeven’s drama Elle at this year’s Cannes, said his joke was meant to be a reference to Roman Polanski’s 38-year-long exile from Hollywood.
“When I wrote this joke, it was more a joke about Europe and why one of the greatest American directors spent years in Europe, [while Allen] didn’t have to because he wasn’t accused of rape in his own country, compared to Roman Polanski.”
So basically Laurent Lafitte made a joke about U.S. puritanism as well as the fact that an American-born director does so many movies in Europe. But the French comedian says he was unaware of “the other stuff.”
But it appears that Allen wasn’t offended by the joke. Speaking to reporters after the Cannes film festival event, the filmmaker said he was “completely in favor” of comedians making “any jokes they want.” And just like Laurent Lafitte, Allen didn’t read the most recent rape allegations story published by the Hollywood Reporter.
‘It would take a lot to offend me,’ Woody Allen says of Laurent Lafitte’s rape joke… https://t.co/mIqF7cNNCg pic.twitter.com/TdDhhkSsfr
— Celebrities Report (@CelebritiesRep) May 12, 2016
According to Laurent Lafitte, the Cannes director, Thierry Fremaux, was kind enough to ask Allen whether or not he was embarrassed by the rape joke. But he said he wasn’t offended by it. In fact, Lafitte claims the joke was written three weeks ago.
“When you listen to Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes, he says a lot of very nasty stuff. He’s very funny, and I don’t think anyone asks him to explain his jokes the next day.”
And both Fremaux and the Cannes film festival president Pierre Lescure approved all the jokes in advance, Laurent Lafitte claims. In fact, they did rehearsals Thursday afternoon, just hours before the ceremony, and everybody was “pleased” with the jokes. And they even wanted some jokes to be even more embarrassing.
“There was a joke about Nicole Kidman, and Thierry Fremaux asked me if the joke could be embarrassing for her. I didn’t want to embarrass anybody, so I didn’t say the joke.”
But there were obviously people who were offended by the rape joke. And Blake Lively was among them, according to Variety. Speaking to reporters, the Gossip Girl actress criticized the Cannes film festival for allowing Laurent Lafitte to say the joke during the opening night ceremony.
“I think any jokes about rape, homophobia or Hitler is not a joke. I think that was a hard thing swallow in 30 seconds.”
— ELLE Magazine (US) (@ELLEmagazine) May 14, 2016
[Photos by Pascal Le Segretain,Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images]