Cannes Film Festival made a big splash by opening with a rape joke targeted at Woody Allen. The most shocking thing is Allen was in attendance when the joke was said. French comedian Laurent Lafitte left the audience gasping when he joked, “You’ve shot so many of your films here in Europe and yet in the U.S., you haven’t even been convicted of rape.”
The joke also compared him to director Roman Polanski who was arrested in 1977 for sexual assault of a 13-year-old model during a Vogue shoot. Although many in Hollywood came to Polanski’s defense, he was disgraced and fled to France for decades so he wouldn’t have to face charges. He was eventually arrested in 2009 while in Switzerland.
— W magazine (@wmag) May 12, 2016
One person who wasn’t pleased with the joke aimed at Woody Allen or the comparison to Roman Polanski was actress Blake Lively. Earlier, she criticized the Cannes Film Festival for letting that joke fly at the opening ceremony. During a lunch for Woody Allen’s latest film Cafe Society, Lively launched into an attack in defense of Woody Allen.
“I think any jokes about rape, homophobia or Hitler is not a joke.”
“I think that was a hard thing swallow in 30 seconds. Film festivals are such a beautiful, respectful festivals of film and artists and to have that, it felt like it wouldn’t have happened if it was in the 1940s. I can’t imagine Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby going out and doing that. It was more disappointing for the artists in the room that someone was going up there making jokes about something that wasn’t funny.”
That said, Lively also pointed out that the comments weren’t just defamatory towards Woody Allen. “He made three homophobic comments in a row. A Hitler joke. And a rape joke. It was all within 30 seconds … What on Earth was happening? It was really confusing.”
Lively, who plays Veronica in the new Woody Allen film, was asked if she had read the essay written by Allen’s estranged son Ronan Farrow about the media’s responsibility in reporting about Dylan Farrow’s allegations of sexual abuse against her father.
The star said she hadn’t read it. “I don’t want to speak on something I haven’t read. I think that’s dangerous. It’s definitely something that being at the festival, the media these days, you come to a film festival about film and people talk about all different types of things. You know? That can be definitely tricky to navigate.”
— Slate (@Slate) May 12, 2016
In a guest column for the Hollywood Reporter, Ronan Farrow wrote about the questions unasked by the media in relation to his father’s role in the alleged sexual abuse that took place when Dyan was 7. Ronan’s introduction brought up Bill Cosby who has been accused of rape on 60 separate occasions. Back in 2014, Farrow was working on a piece in September of 2014. At the time, he was set to interview a Cosby biographer, and was told that he couldn’t bring up the allegations.
“They’re accusations. They’re not in the headlines. There’s no obligation to mention them. These were the objections from a producer at my network. The book omitted allegations of rape and sexual abuse against the entertainer, and I intended to focus on that omission. That producer was one of several industry veterans to warn me against it.”
Later on he went into his sister’s experience, but this is what others are focusing on from the piece, and should. Ronan goes on to explain that the powerful PR machine led to newspapers refusing to run his sister’s stories, and the ones that did, gave double the space for Woody Allen’s side of the story and a prime position at that.
“When my sister first decided to speak out, she had gone to multiple newspapers — most wouldn’t touch her story. An editor at the Los Angeles Times sought to publish her letter with an accompanying, deeply fact-checked timeline of events, but his bosses killed it before it ran. The editor called me, distraught, since I’d written for them in the past. There were too many relationships at stake. It was too hot for them.”
So far Ronan hasn’t released his reaction to Blake Lively’s comments but he predicted what would happen on the Cannes Film Festival press line.
Interesting enough, he did retweet this tidbit:
— Tatiana Siegel (@TatianaSiegel27) May 12, 2016
[Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images]