Amazon Fires Back at Woody Allen Over Breach of Contract Lawsuit

Amazon says it was “justified in terminating” its relationship with filmmaker

Amazon Studios on Wednesday filed to have portions of the $68 million lawsuit for breach of contract brought by Woody Allen dismissed. In its filing, obtained  by TheWrap, Amazon said it was “justified in terminating” the four-movie deal it signed with Allen in 2017 following comments Allen made regarding the #MeToo movement. Amazon also cited comments Allen made about accusations against himself.

“Allen’s actions and their cascading consequences ensured that Amazon could never possibly receive the benefit of its four-picture agreement (despite already having paid Allen a $10 million advance upon signing),” Amazon wrote in its filing. “As a result, Amazon was justified in terminating its relationship with Allen, and plaintiffs ultimately will not recover any of the relief they seek.”

At this point Amazon is only seeking to have four of Allen’s causes of action dismissed, causes that the company deems “duplicative of their central breach claims or otherwise fail as a matter of law.”

Allen filed the $68 million lawsuit against Amazon in February, accusing the company of  breaching its contract with him by refusing to distribute his most recent film “A Rainy Day in New York,” and terminating a four-picture production and distribution deal without cause.

The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York, says that Amazon backed out of distributing “A Rainy Day in New York” after accusations resurfaced that he sexually molested his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992. Allen has repeatedly denied the accusations and in the lawsuit calls them “baseless.”

“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 lawsuit reads. “There simply was no legitimate ground for Amazon to renege on its promises.”

Amazon said in its filing that, in the aftermath of sexual misconduct accusations against Harvey Weinstein, Allen expressed sympathy for Weinstein as well as Weinstein’s victims. According to the suit, he went on to say of the burgeoning #MeToo movement, “You don’t want it to lead to a witch-hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself.”

Several months after that, in January 2018, Allen’s adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, recounted her memories of Allen’s sexual abuse, which he publicly dismissed as “cynically using” #MeToo for attention, Amazon’s filing states.

These statements came out just as Amazon and Allen were preparing to promote his film “Wonder Wheel.” Amazon said his statements, resulting in “swift and damning” response from Hollywood, sabotaged the studio’s efforts to promote his film.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.