‘Bright’ Screenwriter Max Landis Accused of Sexual Assault by Multiple Women

Article by The Daily Beast also includes accusations of emotional abuse and two cases of sexual harassment on set

Max Landis
Photo by Sonia Recchia/Getty Images

Max Landis, the screenwriter of “Chronicle” and “Bright” and the son of filmmaker John Landis, was accused of sexual assault, abuse and and on-set harassment by multiple women in a Daily Beast article published on Tuesday.

A woman identified as Julie said Landis repeatedly raped her during their two-year personal relationship. Three of Landis’s ex-girlfriends — Ani Baker, Dani Manning, and a woman identified by the pseudonym Kerry — said Landis had physically and emotionally abused them, including choking them. And a woman identified as Veronica said Landis touched her in an unwanted sexual manner repeatedly during an overnight trip to Disneyland. Another woman said she witnessed Landis raping her disoriented friend.

Representatives for Landis did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. He also did not respond to the Daily Beast.

The woman identified only as Julie said in a statement to the Beast: “Max Landis is a serial rapist, gaslighter, physical and psychological abuser who tormented me for six years, long after our romantic relationship, both directly and behind my back. He continued to violate my boundaries into even after our relationship, and if any of this still feels like a blurred lines scenario, let me assure you that he did hold me down and rape me while I said ‘no’ over and over. Afterwards I punched him in the shoulder and I told him, ‘When someone says no, you’re supposed to stop. What you just did is what they call rape.’ He said he thought we were playing a game, and that I liked it. He didn’t care.”

Julie also said that she detailed this to Landis in an email reviewed by The Daily Beast, and that he responded by saying, “Well, this all sounds horrible.”

Manning said she began dating Landis in 2007 and that he pressured her to lose weight, even swatting food from her hands and insulting her appearance. Manning also said that “there was no option of not having sex if Max wanted to,” and that he physically assaulted her on several occasions.

“The first incident that I can remember, we were at some public event and I think I laughed at something and he just started choking me to the point where my eyes were blacking out,” Manning told The Daily Beast. “I felt such confusion that I tried to leave and I was drunk and I had to just kind of wait while he tried to convince me that he didn’t mean it.”

According to The Daily Beast, Landis was engaged in a September 2008 Miami circuit court case within the Domestic Violence Division. A woman named Callie Ray confirmed to the Daily Beast that she made a sexual assault accusation, but said she later dropped it. She referred the publication to a close friend, Ashley Heffington Dionne, who said she witnessed Landis assaulting Ray after a night of drinking.

Dionne said she woke up to “what sounded like a person falling, and then I heard what sounded like another person picking up someone and setting them down.” She said she then saw Landis on top of Ray, and said Ray thought the man having sex with her was her boyfriend, who was out of town at the time. Dionne said she demanded that Landis leave.

Dionne told The Daily Beast that afterward, Ray was “crying and confused and in and out of consciousness.” The next morning, Ray couldn’t remember anything after going for drinks, and they went to the police, Dionne said.

“My friend was not in a conscious state and he lied to her by implying he was her boyfriend. This was rape,” Dionne told the Daily Beast.

The publication said two women accused Landis of inappropriate behavior on sets.

The first, Masha Mendieta, said that she was an unpaid actor on a student film in February 2007 in which Landis was involved. Though Mendieta says Landis was not listed as the director, she saw him sitting in the director’s chair and recalls him yelling at a group of “sorority extras” to appear topless.

“And I remember Max specifically yelling that at us. And all of the girls going, what? Because that was not the expectation,” Mendieta said. She added that other girls requested pasties, which had not been supplied, and they instead used duct tape to cover up.

Another woman, Tasha Goldthwait, the daughter of comedian Bobcat Goldthwait, said she worked with Landis on his debut film in 2008, “Me Him Her.” Goldthwait said Landis subjected her to “physical, sexual and verbal abuse” until she eventually quit the production.

“He would talk about his penis all the time to me, brag about the size of it,” Goldthwait said. “On set he would touch me all the time, he would pick me up and turn me upside down and carry me around set. My shirt would come above my face and I’d be exposed. At one point we were on set with people around and he pushed me down and got on top of me on a bed. I raised my voice and told him to get off of me, and eventually managed to get him off.”

Landis was previously reported to be attached to two different upcoming projects, “Shadow in the Cloud” and “Deeper,” as a screenwriter. However, the producer of “Shadow in the Cloud” told The Daily Beast that the screenplay was optioned before any accusations of misconduct had come to light, and that Landis has been removed as a producer from the film. The script is undergoing rewrites.

The above is just a summary of the accusations detailed in the Daily Beast story, which you can read in its entirety here.