Woody Allen is confused. In late August 2017, Amazon Studios acquired exclusive rights to the next four movies made by Woody Allen. Amazon Studio head Roy Price told Allen that he wanted the studio to be his home for the rest of his career.
Now, Amazon Studios doesn’t want to make any more of Allen’s movies. Allen is suing his former employers for $68 million breach of contract, Variety reports. In fact, the studio has yet to release Allen’s latest, “A Rainy Day In New York,” which has been ready for distribution for over six months. In fact, Allen contends, just four months after his major contract as well as a standing invitation to stay with the studio, representatives from Amazon made it clear that they were no longer interested in working with Woody Allen.
August to December 2017. What could have changed?
Initially, Allen’s team claims, Amazon executives claimed Allen’s name was tainted because of his connection to Harvey Weinstein as well as his deal with Price, who by then had quit his role at the media giant over a sexual harassment allegation.
Then, in January 2018, Amazon proposed that the release of Allen’s “A Rainy Day In New York” be delayed. By then, the bulk of the stars of that movie, as well as other actors who had been directed by Allen, had issued public apologies for working with him. In June 2018, an Amazon executive sent a note to Allen, reading, “notice that Amazon is terminating the Agreement with respect to each of the Picture.” The suit adds that the studio does not intend to distribute Allen’s completed movie.
Allen was accused of sexual abuse by his daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992. Farrow has maintained that allegation ever since, speaking about it most openly in adulthood in 2015. Allen, who also had an affair with is girlfriend Mia Farrow’s daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, and then married her, has always denied the accusation. His career has never appeared to suffer — he put out at least one movie per year from 1982 until 2019, enjoying accolades and a place in the pantheon of great American movie makers.
Now, Allen says, the studio that promised to usher his swan song onto the silver screen is refusing to distribute or produce any more of his movies “by referencing a 25-year-old, baseless allegation against Mr. Allen.” The suit points out that the “allegation was already well known to Amazon (and the public) before Amazon entered into four separate deals with Mr. Allen.” Amazon knew Allen was an accused child abuser, but contracted him anyway. Ethically, Allen seems to argue, Amazon is being hypocritical.
Poor Woody Allen! It is too late, perhaps, for justice. The closest thing to it, argues the venerated one percent-er, is $68 million.
Jenny Singer is the deputy life/features editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny