Woody Allen doesn't seem to care what people say about him, and he said he hasn't read his son Ronan Farrow's scathing essay in the Hollywood Reporter about how the media has basically given the legendary director a pass for the sexual assault allegations made by Farrow's sister Dylan. But Blake Lively, who co-stars in Allen's new film "Cafe Society," was not amused at the jokes made in the opening night ceremony for the Cannes Film Festival, and not just the jokes about Woody Allen.
The director was sitting with stars Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, and Blake Lively for the world premiere of "Cafe Society" when master of ceremonies Laurent Lafitte shocked the audience with his monologue, saying of Allen:
"It's very nice that you've been shooting so many movies in Europe, even if you are not being convicted for rape in the U.S."
The joke reportedly drew gasps from the audience, and was interpreted as a reference both to Allen's rape allegations, and to director Roman Polanski, who fled the U.S. after pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.
It wasn't the only controversial joke and, over a lunch for "Café Society," Lively shared her disgust with Variety:
"I think any jokes about rape, homophobia or Hitler is not a joke. I think that was a hard thing swallow in 30 seconds. Film festivals are such a beautiful, respectful festivals of film and artists and to have that, it felt like it wouldn't have happened if it was in the 1940s. I can't imagine Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby going out and doing that. It was more disappointing for the artists in the room that someone was going up there making jokes about something that wasn't funny."
She emphasized that it wasn't just Lafitte's Woody Allen joke that upset her:
"He made three homophobic comments in a row. A Hitler joke. And a rape joke. It was all within 30 seconds ... What on Earth was happening? It was really confusing."
Lively also said she hadn't seen Ronan Farrow's piece at that point, so she didn't want to speak about anything she hadn't read.
For his part, Laurent Lafitte told The Hollywood Reporter he didn't know anything about Farrow's essay before doing his monologue, and that wasn't the point of the Woody Allen reference:
"When I wrote this joke [three weeks ago], it was more a joke about Europe and why one of the greatest American directors spent years in Europe, because he didn't have to because he wasn't accused of rape in his own country, compared to Roman Polanski. It was [meant] as joke about American puritanism and the fact that it is surprising that an American director wants to do so many movies in Europe. I didn't know about the other stuff."
He said, if he had known about Farrow's essay he would've deleted the joke. "I didn't want to hurt anybody. If I had known [the Woody Allen joke] could be misinterpreted, I wouldn't have said it."
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