Woody Allen has filed a $68 million lawsuit against Amazon Studios, which says that Amazon breached its contract by refusing to distribute his most recent film, and terminating a four-picture production and distribution deal without cause.
The lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in the Southern District of New York by Gravier Productions and Allen, claims that Amazon backed out to distribute his film, “A Rainy Day in New York,” in June after accusations resurfaced that he sexually molested his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, in August 1992. Allen has repeatedly denied the accusations and in the lawsuit calls them “baseless.” He now seeks $68 million in damages.
“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. There simply was no legitimate ground for Amazon to renege on its promises,” the suit reads.
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A representative for Amazon did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s comment.
The lawsuit says that his relationship with Amazon began to falter after Roy Price resigned as president of Amazon Studios following a sexual harassment scandal. Allen says that Amazon reached out to his representatives in December 2017 to discuss the negative publicity and “reputation harm” that had come because of Price, and its association with Harvey Weinstein and his own sexual assault scandal. At that time, it had agreed to push the release of “A Rainy Day in New York” from 2018 to 2019. At the time, the film had not yet been completed.
But in June 2018, after post-production on “A Rainy Day in New York” had been completed, the lawsuit says that Allen received a termination notice, saying that it did not intend to distribute the film and did not receive any legal basis for doing so, knowing that the actions would cause “substantial damage.”
“Defendants’ counsel merely made the vague statement that Amazon Content’s performance of the MAA became ‘impracticable’ because of ‘supervening events, including renewed allegations against Mr. Allen, his own controversial comments, and the increasing refusal of top talent to work with him or be associated with him in any way, all of which have frustrated the purpose of the agreement,” the lawsuit reads. It then said that Allen repeatedly asked what they meant by “renewed allegations” and Amazon did not respond.