Woody Allen has sued Amazon Studios for $68 million for terminating his movie contract due to what he describes in the suit as a "25-year old, baseless allegation."
Allen alleges in the lawsuit that Amazon has refused to release his latest film A Rainy Day in New York, despite the fact that it has been completed for months. Amazon shelved the film, which they reportedly bought for $25 million, last year.
"Amazon has tried to excuse its action by referencing a 25-year old, baseless allegation against Mr. Allen, but that allegation was already well known to Amazon (and the public) before Amazon entered into four separate deals with Mr. Allen—and, in any event it does not provide a basis for Amazon to terminate the contract," the suit reads. "There simply was no legitimate ground for Amazon to renege on its promises."
Allen entered a deal with Amazon Studios via former head Roy Price, who resigned in October 2017 after being accused of sexual harassment by a producer, to produce his first TV series, Crisis in Six Scenes, back in December 2014. Allen and his production company Gravier then signed a four-movie deal with Amazon in August 2017 (of which 2017's Wonder Wheel was the first). Price told Allen at the time that he "wanted [Amazon] to be the 'home' for Mr. Allen’s films for the remainder of his career and that Amazon Studios would release all Mr. Allen’s future films."
According to the suit, after Price resigned, Amazon executives Jason Ropell and Matt Newman met with Allen’s representatives in December 2017 and "discussed the negative publicity and reputational harm Amazon Studios had received because of allegations made against its former President, Mr. Price, and its association with Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company." This also came as accusations that Allen had sexually abused his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow began recirculating in the wake of the #MeToo movement. (Allen has denied these charges over the years.)
In January 2018, Amazon’s general counsel proposed delaying the release of A Rainy Day in New York, which wasn't yet completed, until 2019, which Allen accepted. Then in June 2018, after post-production work on A Rainy Day in New York had been completed, Amazon sent him a termination letter saying that their agreement had become "impracticable as a result of 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."
Since the #MeToo movement started in the fall of 2017, a number of actors have either apologized for working with Allen, or vowed that they would never work with him. That list includes Hayley Atwell, Rachel Brosnahan, Michael Caine, Greta Gerwig, Colin Firth, Ellen Page, Mira Sorvino, Evan Rachel Wood and Peter Sarsgaard. Also, some of the stars of the unreleased A Rainy Day In New York have pledged their salaries from the film to different causes, including Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Hall and Griffin Newman.
Before the four-picture deal, when Amazon made a deal to distribute Allen's 2016 film Cafe Society in Feb. 2016, Allen said in a statement, "Like all beginning relationships, there is much hope, mutual affection and genuine goodwill—the lawsuits come later."
You can see the full lawsuit below.
Woody Allen Lawsuit by on Scribd