The suit, filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York, seeks $68 million in damages. It claims Amazon breached the contract without cause, though the company cited resurfaced accusations that Allen molested his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992.
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 states.
Dylan Farrow has long alleged that Allen sexually abused her when she was a child. Allen, 83, has steadfastly denied the allegations.
Farrow repeated her claim in a powerful CBS television interview early last year amid the height of the Me Too movement. The movement has been fueled by sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry revealed in part by Farrow’s brother, Ronan Farrow, in The New Yorker in 2017.
According to the suit, Amazon executives met with Allen’s representatives in December 2017 amid the growing Me Too controversy. The executives said Amazon Studios’ reputation had been harmed by its association with Harvey Weinstein, the target of several misconduct accusations, and by allegations against former Amazon Studios head Roy Price, according to the suit. The company proposed delaying the release of “A Rainy Day in New York” until 2019, which Allen accepted, the lawsuit states.
But the company later dropped the entire four-movie deal, citing “supervening events, including renewed allegations ... [Allen’s] own controversial comments, and the increasing refusal of top talent to work with or be associated with him in any way,” according to the lawsuit.
Amazon Studios could not immediately be reached for comment.
“A Rainy Day in New York” was shot in 2017. The cast includes Jude Law, Rebecca Hall and Timothée Chalamet.
Chalamet, Hall and Griffin Newman, who had a small role, said last year that they were donating their movie salaries to anti-abuse charities. Law told Vanity Fair that it was a “shame” the film had been shelved, and that he would “consider carefully” before ever working with Allen again.
The lawsuit describes Allen as “one of the most critically acclaimed, iconic and successful filmmakers in the history of motion pictures.”
Amazon distributed Allen’s last two films, “Wonder Wheel” and “Cafe Society.”