Pop singer Bjork accuses Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier of sexual harassment
Danish film director Lars von Trier has rejected Icelandic pop singer Bjork’s allegation that he sexually harassed her during the making of the movie Dancer in the Dark.hollywood Updated: Oct 17, 2017 09:55 IST
Danish film director Lars von Trier has rejected Icelandic pop singer Bjork’s allegation that he sexually harassed her during the making of the movie Dancer in the Dark.
In a post on her Facebook page on Sunday, the singer-songwriter said she was inspired to speak out by the flood of separate allegations against US producer Harvey Weinstein. She said she “became aware” that “it is a universal thing that a director can touch and harass his actresses at will and the institution of film allows it”.
The 51-year-old musician, a former lead singer of The Sugarcubes post-punk group, did not name the filmmaker to whom she was referring, but said he had “a staff of dozens who enabled ... and encouraged” his behaviour. “When I turned the director down repeatedly he sulked and punished me” and “framed (me) as the difficult one,” she said.
“That was not the case. But that we were definitely not friends, that’s a fact,” von Trier told Danish daily Jyllands-Posten in its online edition. Trier’s award-winning 2000 musical drama Dancer, for which Bjork won a Best Actress prize at the Cannes film festival in 2000, remains the Icelandic star’s only film.
Producer Peter Aalbaek Jensen, who has partnered with von Trier on many films including Dancer in the Dark, meanwhile told Jyllands Posten that he and von Trier “were the victims.”
“As far as I remember, we were the victims. That woman was stronger than both Lars von Trier and me and our company put together. She dictated everything and was about to close a movie of 100 million kroner ($16 million),” he said.
It’s not the first time Von Trier has been at the centre of controversy. A leader of the Dogme 95 cinema movement that frowns on special effects, he is known for his black humour and shocking scenes of sex and violence in films like Antichrist, Melancholia, Manderlay and Breaking the Waves.
He was kicked out of the Cannes festival in 2011 for telling a news conference he sympathised “a little bit” with Adolf Hitler. He later apologised for the comment.
Bjork has previously lashed out at the media for its “sexist” views and news coverage of women. In her recent Facebook post, she wrote, “I am inspired by the women everywhere who are speaking up online to tell about my experience with a Danish director . because i come from a country that is one of the worlds place closest to equality between the sexes and at the time i came from position of strength in the music world with hard earned independence , it was extremely clear to me when i walked into the actresses profession that my humiliation and role as a lesser sexually harassed being was the norm and set in stone with the director and a staff of dozens who enabled it and encouraged it . i became aware of that it is a universal thing that a director can touch and harass his actresses at will and the institution of film allows it . when i turned the director down repeatedly he sulked and punished me and created for his team an impressive net of illusion where i was framed as the difficult one . because of my strength , my great team and because i had nothing to loose having no ambitions in the acting world , i walked away from it and recovered in a years time . i am worried though that other actresses working with the same man did not . the director was fully aware of this game and i am sure of that the film he made after was based on his experiences with me . because i was the first one that stood up to him and didn’t let him get away with it and in my opinion he had a more fair and meaningful relationship with his actresses after my confrontation so there is hope let’s hope this statement supports the actresses and actors all over. let’s stop this. there is a wave of change in the world. kindness, björk.”
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First Published: Oct 17, 2017 09:41 IST