Amazon is firing back with its first big move as it stares down a massive $68 million lawsuit by Woody Allen for a breach of contract. The company claims that it was justified in terminating the remainder of its multi-film contract with the director, and is using the events and controversial comments made by Allen to fuel the claim.
Specifically, Amazon has taking aim at Woody Allen's controversial comments made at the time news broke on the Harvey Weinstein controversy, in which Allen publicly warned the news could create a "witch hunt atmosphere" in Hollywood. THR reported Amazon added that Allen's dismissal of Dylan Farrow's memories of sexual abuse as an excuse to use the #MeToo movement for attention added to the controversy and made further work with him impossible.
Amazon's argument is that Woody Allen made the comments with a failure to recognize the gravity of the situation, or the implication that it would have on his career despite the increasing number of top talents who announced they wouldn't work with him. This is what the company is saying justifies the termination of the contract, and why the case should be dismissed.
Amazon's argument will have some issues, as some believe the evidence presented can be argued as a legitimate risk the company knew it was taking on when it initially signed the deal with Woody Allen. For example, while the claims of Allen's abuse against Dylan Farrow were re-ignited by the #MeToo movement, the claim against him has been public knowledge for decades. Amazon continued on with the deal knowing that news was out there, albeit before the Weinstein comments.
As for Woody Allen's side of the argument, Amazon cannot drop its contract with him on the grounds of a longstanding allegation that is "baseless," in the words of a statement from his legal complaint. This means that, whether Amazon wants to show Allen's future work or not, he's still owed the money from the deal. That is likely where the $68 million amount comes from.
The court case is being looked on by interested parties throughout Hollywood, who wish to see whether or not courts will uphold grounds of dismissing high-profile contracts due to the events of the #MeToo movement. If the courts end up ruling in favor of Amazon, it may encourage other companies that were on the line with actors caught in controversy to try and sever any expensive contracts they had.
CinemaBlend will keep an eye on the ongoing legal proceedings between Woody Allen and Amazon, as well as keep readers up to date on the latest and greatest entertainment news. As an example, hop on over to our latest news on Pet Sematary to see what critics have to say about the latest Stephen King adaptation.