Following recent sexual harassment allegations against Italian director Fausto Brizzi, Warner Bros. Italy has decided to take his name off of all promotional materials related to his new film Poveri ma Ricchissimi (Poor but Very Rich), a follow-up to his 2016 hit Poveri ma Ricchi (Poor but Rich). His name has been scrubbed from online promotion for the film along with any posters and trailers.
Warner Bros. has also decided to suspend any future collaborations with Brizzi, who has been a major box-office pull for local Italian comedies. The film will still be released Dec. 14.
At least 10 women have accused the 48-year-old filmmaker of sexual harassment, including former Miss Italy Clarissa Marchese and model Alessandra Guilia Bassi.
The studio defended its position in a statement arguing that the film “is the result of the creativity, work and dedication of hundreds of female and male cast and crew.”
Warner Bros. added that the company is “very serious about any allegation of harassment or abuse and is firmly committed to ensuring that the work environment is a safe place for all its employees.”
The allegations were made public on the Mediaset TV show Le lene (The Hyenas) when host Dino Giarrusso revealed that one-third of the 30 women he had interviewed about sexual harassment had made accusations against Brizzi. The women said the director invited them to private auditions where he would make unwanted sexual advances. The allegations, which can described as similar to Harvey Weinstein’s M.O., included anything from unsolicited massages, stripping naked and using physical force when women resisted.
In a statement from his lawyer, Brizzi categorically denied having any non-consensual sexual relations.
Brizzi has said that he is suspending all work and business activities for the moment. He has criticized the Italian media for engaging in a “hunt for the Italian Weinstein,” and says that he reserves the right to bring to court anyone who makes untrue allegations.
Italian TV host Maurizio Costanzo has come out in support of Brizzi, saying, “Some women seek popularity.” The majority of Brizzi’s accusers, however, have come forward under conditions of anonymity.