Woody Allen backs Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales on 'Kissgate' with a bizarre rape remark

Ayaan Paul
Ayaan PaulSep 05, 2023 | 13:02

Woody Allen backs Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales on 'Kissgate' with a bizarre rape remark

Woody Allen's appearance at the Venice Film Festival to promote his latest film, "Coup de Chance," was accompanied by a cloud of controversy, spanning from his comments on the Luis Rubiales incident to protests calling for his cancellation.

Press at Venice

The standing-room-only press conference for "Coup de Chance" drew significant attention from the media and the public. It was a rare public appearance for Allen, who has become known for his reluctance to engage in publicity events.

  • The film, a French-language thriller, premiered out of competition on the Lido later that evening, signaling Allen's continued involvement in European productions. Allen has not shot a film in his hometown of New York since 2019's "A Rainy Day in New York."
Photo: Twitter/Venice Biennale

Legacy of controversy

Amazon Studios pulled the release of the film following the resurgence of sexual abuse allegations against Allen, stemming from his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992. Consequently, much of the support for Allen's work now comes from abroad and European festivals, as American audiences remain divided on his legacy.

Inside the press conference, the atmosphere was anything but restricted. Journalists had free rein to ask whatever they pleased, but to everyone's surprise, they didn't touch on any of the simmering controversies.

The real show, however, was happening outside the venue. The red carpet premiere of "Coup de Chance" was invaded by protesters. Chanting slogans like "no rape culture," they sought to disrupt the event. Their presence underscored the festering controversy surrounding Allen's inclusion in the Venice Film Festival lineup.

The festival organisers had also given spots to films by directors Luc Besson and Roman Polanski, both of whom have faced Me Too scandals and multiple allegations. This decision to feature directors with controversial histories raised questions about the festival's stance on ethical considerations in the era of the Me Too movement.


Allen on "Kissgate"

But Allen, never one to shy away from voicing his opinions, decided to venture into a completely unrelated controversy involving Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales, during an interview with Spanish outlet El Mundo. Rubiales had faced backlash for an unsolicited kiss planted on Women's World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso after a match. 

Allen, perhaps feeling a kinship with Rubiales, offered his two cents, suggesting that while the kiss was wrong, it shouldn't result in Rubiales losing his job. The irony, of course, seemed lost on him. 

"The kiss on the soccer player was wrong, but it did not burn down a school. He has the duty to apologize and go ahead... They didn't hide, nor did he kiss her in a dark alley. He wasn't raping her; it was just a kiss, and she was a friend. What's wrong with that?" 

Allen has been accused of molesting his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, when she was just seven years old. Allen vehemently denies these allegations, contending that they were fabricated by his former partner, Mia Farrow, after he began a relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, another of Farrow's adopted daughters from a previous relationship. 


This long standing controversy has divided public opinion, and Allen's comments on the “Kissgate” scandal has only fueled the debate further.

Standing ovation at Venice

While Allen's career remains a subject of ongoing debate and division, making any public appearance a high-stakes affair, his latest Paris-set drama centers on a couple whose relationship is threatened by the return of the wife’s former classmate. Shot in fall 2022 in Paris, Coup de Chance stars Niels Schneider, Lou de Laage, Valerie Lemercier, and Melvil Poupaud and recieved a three-minute standing ovation at Venice.

Back to NYC

When questioned about the possibility of making another film in New York, Allen hinted at having new ideas for New York-based projects but lays out a set of demanding conditions for potential financiers. These conditions include not allowing them to read the script or know the cast, essentially requiring them to provide funds blindly and step away from the creative process.

“I have very good ideas in New York. If some guy steps out of the shadows and says, ‘We’ll finance your film in New York,’ and obey[s] all my terrible restrictions — they can’t read the script, they can’t know who’s in it, they just give me their money and go away. If some foolish person agrees to that, then I will make the film in New York.” 

In his conversation with Variety, Allen discusses the considerations he faces as he contemplates making more films. He candidly admits that one of the challenges he encounters is the arduous process of fundraising for a movie. While the act of creating a film itself is exciting, securing the necessary funding seems like a tedious and unglamorous process for him, unsurprisingly.

Last updated: September 05, 2023 | 13:02
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