Famed director Woody Allen sued Amazon for $68 million, alleging that the tech giant backed out of a deal to finance and distribute his films over what the lawsuit calls a “25-year-old baseless accusation.”
Allen’s daughter, Dylan Farrow, has long alleged that Allen sexually abused her when she was a child. Allen has consistently denied the allegations. In the lawsuit, Allen’s team argues that the allegations were well known when Amazon entered into an agreement with the director and don’t give Amazon a basis for terminating the contract.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in New York, calls Amazon a “technology giant but Hollywood novice.” Amazon sought to capitalize on Allen’s fame to develop its “nascent entertainment studio,” according to the suit, with a deal to “finance and distribute his future films and to be his ‘home’ for the rest of his career.”
We reached out to Amazon for comment and will update this story if we hear back.
Allen had this to say in 2017 about teaming with Amazon:
“Amazon is a perfect example of a company that’s so successful that someone like me is peanuts and chump change,” Allen said. “These guys make billions. … So they can reach in their pocket and say, ‘Give it to him and shut him up,’ and I make my film, and if it makes a few dollars you don’t even notice it on an Amazon ledger. And if it loses a few bucks they couldn’t care less.”
The relationship, however, didn’t last long. As the #metoo movement continued to gain steam, Amazon executives allegedly met with Allen’s team in late 2017 to discuss the negative publicity and reputation issues Amazon Studios faced due to its association with Harvey Weinstein and the departure of its leader Roy Price amid accusations of sexual harassment.
Amazon asked Allen and his team to delay the release of the first film under their deal — A Rainy Day in New York, with a cast that includes Jude Law, Selena Gomez, Elle Fanning, Diego Luna, Liev Schreiber and Timothée Chalamet — until 2019.
The lawsuit says Allen agreed to push back the film and completed it in the meantime. Then, in June 2018, Ajay Patel, associate general counsel, Amazon Studios and movies & TV, sent an email canceling the deal, saying “Amazon cannot continue in business with Mr. Allen.”
Amazon representatives later said the company cancelled the deal due to “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.”
Allen is seeking $68 million in minimum guarantee payments from the four films in the deal with Amazon, in addition to damages and attorneys fees.
Here is the full complaint from Allen, filed Thursday:
Allen v. Amazon by on Scribd