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Woody Allen Sues Amazon Over Film Cancellations

Kansas residents are likely aware that allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein helped to give rise to the #MeToo movement. The popularity of the hashtag and the seriousness of the allegations it often accompanied has prompted many companies in the entertainment sector to reconsider their casting and business decisions, and this has given rise to lawsuits filed by men who feel that they are being treated unfairly.

One such lawsuit was filed by the renowned director Woody Allen against Amazon. In 2017, the online retailer entered into a four-movie deal with Allen that guaranteed the director at least $68 million. The agreement was seen as a major coup for Amazon at a time when the company was trying to establish a presence in the film distribution and video streaming sector, but all this changed when old allegations involving Allen and his adopted daughter resurfaced because of the #MeToo movement.

Allen completed ‘A Rainy Day in New York” for Amazon in 2018, but the company backed away from the project and has since decided not to release the film. The three remaining movies have also been cancelled. This is what prompted Allen to file his lawsuit. Amazon claims that comments Allen made in an interview about the Weinstein case reveal that the director fails to grasp the seriousness of the situation and made the four-picture deal financially untenable.

Attorneys with business law experience may advise their clients to perform thorough due diligence before entering into agreements to avoid potentially contentious and expensive contract disputes. When this research reveals thorny issues that could cause embarrassment in the future, attorneys may suggest including what is known as a morals clause. These provisions allow agreements to be terminated when parties behave in ways that could damage reputations or impact future business.

Source: Variety, “Amazon Seeks to Rebut Woody Allen Lawsuit”, Martin P. Maddaus, April 3, 2019

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