The Cannes Film Festival began with some controversy when master of ceremonies comedian Laurent Laffite made a rape joke regarding Woody Allen at the “Café Society” premiere, saying, “It’s very nice that you’ve been shooting so many movies in Europe, even if you are not being convicted for rape in the U.S.”
The director didn’t pay much attention to the jab, later letting reporters know that he is “a non-judgmental or [non]-censorship person” and that it would “take a lot to offend me.” Blake Lively, on the other hand, who stars in Allen’s latest film, was offended and spoke out about what she believed to be inappropriate comments that were made at last night’s opening ceremony.
“I think any jokes about rape, homophobia or Hitler is not a joke,” Lively told reporters about the French comedian’s remarks. “I think that was a hard thing swallow in 30 seconds. Film festivals are such a beautiful, respectful festivals of film and artists and to have that, it felt like it wouldn’t have happened if it was in the 1940s. I can’t imagine Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby going out and doing that. It was more disappointing for the artists in the room that someone was going up there making jokes about something that wasn’t funny.”
Adding, “But it wasn’t just Woody. He made three homophobic comments in a row. A Hitler joke. And a rape joke. It was all within 30 seconds… What on Earth was happening? It was really confusing.”
Hours before the premiere, Woody’s estranged son Ronan Farrow published an essay on The Hollywood Reporter about how the media failed to challenge his father over his sister Dylan Farrow’s sexual abuse allegations. When asked about the piece, the actress said she had not read it.
“I came home and went to bed at whatever time we finished. I haven’t been in it, so I don’t want to speak on something I haven’t read,” Lively told Vulture’s Kyle Buchannan. “I think that’s dangerous. It’s definitely something that being at the festival, the media these days, you come to a film festival about film and people talk about all different types of things. You know? That can be definitely tricky to navigate, I’m sure. I don’t want to speak about something I haven’t read.”
Blake’s costar Kristen Stewart, who also gasped when the joke was made during the ceremony, recently commented on the Woody allegations, telling Variety she had previously spoken with Jesse Eisenberg about the situation, “At the end of the day, Jesse and I talked about this. If we were persecuted for the amount of s–t that’s been said about us that’s not true, our lives would be over. The experience of making the movie was so outside of that, it was fruitful for the two of us to go on with it.”
Watch the “Café Society” trailer below: