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Hollywood veteran Woody Allen in $68m legal claim against Amazon

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Woody Allen, a Hollywood veteran whose career encompasses acting, directing, writing and comedy, is taking legal action against internet giant Amazon after the controversial director’s latest film, ‘A Rainy Day in New York’, was shelved following the emergence of new abuse allegations.

The film, a romantic comedy starring Selena Gomez and Jude Law, was finished in 2017 but the re-emergence of sex-abuse allegations in the wake of the #me too movement has resulted in Amazon being unwilling to authorise its release, apparently indefinitely. The most recent abuse claims by Allen’s daughter Dylan Farrow have been strongly denied by the ‘Annie Hall’ star. Official investigation into the claims has also resulted in a lack of evidence, and consequently no action has been taken against.

Alleging that Amazon Studios has broken a four-film contract originally signed in 2016, Allen is now seeking $68m in damages against the global tech company. His filing at a New York federal court states:

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.”

Allen, 83, also claims that Amazon owe him $9m after financing the production of A Rainy Day in New York himself, and that Amazon had committed to a minimum 90 day release of the film. His claim also states that Amazon attempted to terminate their agreements in June 2018 with no “legal or factual basis”. Amazon Studios has so far not responded to requests to comment on the claim.

‘A Rainy Day in New York’ became mired in controversy after an article by Dylan Farrow titled “Why has the #MeToo revolution spared Woody Allen?” appeared in the LA Times in October 2017. A number of Allen collaborators publicly disassociated themselves from the director, but others including actors Javier Bardem and Jude Law defended Allen, with the Law referring to the non-release of ‘A Rainy Day in New York’ as “a terrible shame”. 

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