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Woody Allen sues Amazon for $68 million for backing out of film deal

The director alleges that Amazon won't release four of his films because of decades-old allegations that he molested his adopted daughter.

Abrar Al-Heeti Video producer / CNET
Abrar Al-Heeti is a video host and producer for CNET, with an interest in internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. Before joining the video team, she was a writer for CNET's culture team. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
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Abrar Al-Heeti
2 min read
Woody Allen

Director Woody Allen is suing Amazon for $68 million.

Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Woody Allen filed a $68 million lawsuit against Amazon on Thursday, saying the company dropped a four-picture deal with him because of years-old allegations that he molested his adopted daughter.

The writer and director says Amazon won't release his movie A Rainy Day in New York, which has been finished for more than six months. Amazon provided vague reasons for this decision and its choice to back out of producing three more movies, according to a copy of the lawsuit posted by Variety

Allen's adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, has accused him of molesting her when she was a little girl, in the early '90s.

"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 says. "There simply was no legitimate ground for Amazon to renege on its promises."

Amazon executives met with Allen's representative in December 2017, according to the suit, and said the company's association with Harvey Weinstein, in addition to misconduct allegations against former Amazon Studios head Roy Price, had been a blow to the company.  The following month, Amazon's general counsel, Ajay Patel, suggested pushing back the release of A Rainy Day in New York until 2019, and Allen agreed, according to the suit.

In June 2018, Patel allegedly sent an email saying Amazon was terminating the agreement, without providing a reason. After Allen asked for an explanation, Amazon said it was backing out because of "supervening events, including renewed allegations against Mr. Allen, his own controversial comments and the increasing refusal of top talent to work with or be associated with him in any way, all of which have frustrated the purpose of the Agreement," according to the suit, which was filed in the Southern District of New York. 

Amazon released two of Allen's other movies, Wonder Wheel and Cafe Society.

Neither Allen's representatives nor Amazon immediately responded to a request for comment.

You can read the suit here:

Woody Allen Amazon by on Scribd

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