A rape joke directed at Woody Allen by a French comedian on the opening night of the Cannes Film Festival drew gasps from some in attendance at the Palais. But the filmmaker himself apparently was not upset by the joke, which compared him to fugitive filmmaker Roman Polanski.
At a lunch for his film Cafe Society on Thursday, Allen told a table — which included members of the media — that he wasn’t offended by the jab.
Comedian Laurent Lafitte told the joke to the elite opening-night crowd, saying: “You’ve shot so many of your films here in Europe and yet in the U.S. you haven’t even been convicted of rape.” The joke prompted an awkward silence and a few gasps.
On Thursday, according to a tweet from Variety film reporter Ramin Setoodeh, the director offered his reaction. “Woody Allen said he wasn’t offended by the rape joke at yesterday’s #Cannes2016 opening ceremony,” Setoodeh tweeted.
The rape joke came hours after Allen’s estranged son Ronan Farrow published a blistering essay in THR that attacked the media for failing to challenge his father over sister Dylan Farrow’s allegations of sexual abuse.
THR was banned from Thursday’s lunch event by Allen’s longtime publicist, Leslee Dart, in retaliation for publishing Farrow’s essay.
At the event, Vanity Fair‘s Julie Miller asked Allen if he had read Farrow’s essay. The filmmaker said he had not.
“I never read anything about me,” Allen said, according to Vulture. “Any of these interviews I do, anything. I said everything I had to say about that whole issue in the New York Times — I don’t know if you read it — some time ago. I have moved so far past that. You know, I never think about it. I work, and that’s the end of it for me. I said I was never gonna comment on it again because I could just go on endlessly.”
THR reached out to Dart to explain why she banned the publication from the event. She responded: “It’s only natural that I would show displeasure when the press — in this case, The Hollywood Reporter — goes out of its way to be harmful to my client.”
May 12, 5:40 a.m. Updated with a Leslee Dart quote and comments from the event.