8 Women Accuse Screenwriter Max Landis Of Sexual And Psychological Abuse
The following contains explicit accounts of sexual and psychological abuse
Celebrity screenwriter Max Landis, writer of the films “Bright” and “Chronicle” and son of director John Landis, has been accused of physical and emotional abuse by eight women in a sweeping exposé published by The Daily Beast on June 18.
Many of the women, some of whom wished to remain anonymous, allege that Landis used his connections to lure them into relationships and, once they were involved with him, wore them down psychologically. The Daily Beast reporting contains disturbing accounts of physical violence and sexual assault.
Several of the women including Landis’s ex-girlfriend Ani Baker report that Landis choked them. Baker says that, after slapping Landis playfully on the butt, he “turned around and he put his hands around my throat and he got very close to my face…. He said, ‘I will fucking kill you.’”
Another ex-girlfriend, identified as Julie, alleged in a statement to The Daily Beast that Landis was a “serial rapist” and “gaslighter” who showed her humiliation porn and claimed that “seeing me cry was a turn-on.”
A third ex, “Kerry,” said that Landis “choked me and told me he wanted to kill me.” And another named Dani Manning recalled Landis “choking me to the point where my eyes were blacking out” during a party.
Landis was also accused of extensive psychological abuse, including showing girlfriends a ranking of women he’d had sex with. “He would systematically try to have sex with all the women I knew,” “Samantha,” an ex-girlfriend, told The Daily Beast. “We’re not people to him.”
Not all of the women who spoke to The Daily Beast were romantically involved with Landis. Masha Mendieta, a woman who worked on a film set with Landis in 2007, accused him of making “sexual jokes” and, in one instance, forcing her down on a bed. Another woman told The Daily Beast that she became involved with Landis’s circle of friends, nicknamed the Colour Society, only for him to “bully and emotionally abuse” her, fat shaming her in front of the group.
Several of the women allege that Landis overpowered them in sexual situations. One woman going by Veronica said Landis “pinned” her to a bed on a trip to Disneyland. The woman named Julie said in her statement to The Daily Beast that Landis continued having sex with her after she repeatedly said no. “He said he thought we were playing a game, and that I liked it. He didn’t care.”
The Daily Beast also looked into a 2008 sexual assault claim filed against Landis in Miami, reaching out to a woman named Callie Ray, who made the complaint before dropping it. Ray’s former roommate Ashley Heffington Dionne told The Daily Beast she discovered Landis on top of Ray, who was unaware of who he was at the time, with his pants down.
The Daily Beast writes that prior to their reportage, a Hollywood Reporter story on Landis’s alleged behavior was planned, before being shelved, in 2017. In February of 2019, an anonymous Medium post from a woman claiming to have been interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter accused Landis of forcing himself on her at a Joshua Tree trailer park.
Many of the people spoken to for The Daily Beast story said they were expecting the call for comment for years.
Landis did not respond to The Daily Beast’s multiple requests for comment.
On June 19, Writ Large, Landis’s personal managers announced they had dropped him as a client.
“Writ Large does not represent Max Landis,” Britton Rizzio, his former manager told Deadline. “As soon as we heard about the Daily Beast article, we parted company.”
PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture intern. He can be reached at [email protected]