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Woody Allen continues to be the subject of heated conversations at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
Susan Sarandon spoke at a “Women in Motion” talk Sunday during the French festival and slammed the famous director for the allegations daughter Dylan Farrow raised against him, claiming that he sexually molested her when she was younger. He has vehemently denied Dylan’s accusations in the New York Times.
“I think he sexually assaulted a child and I don’t think that’s right,” she said, sitting alongside former Thelma & Louise co-star Geena Davis. “I have nothing good to say about him,” she added. “I don’t want to go there.”
Allen opened the festival with his new film, Café Society, which stars Blake Lively and Kristen Stewart. But during the opening night, Laurent Lafitte, a French comedian and the opening night’s master of ceremonies, made a joke about rape, which spurred an awkward response from the crowd as well as comments from Lively at a later talk.
“You’ve shot so many of your films here in Europe and yet in the U.S. you haven’t even been convicted of rape,” Lafitte quipped.
He later said he was unaware of the accusations against Allen.
At a celebratory lunch for Allen’s festival entry, Allen said he wasn’t offended by the Frenchman’s words. The former Gossip Girl star, however, made it clear she wasn’t happy with what was said and clarified that she was not informed about the accusations. “It’s very dangerous to factor in things you don’t know anything about,” she said. “I could [only] know my experience. And my experience with Woody is he’s empowering to women.”
Lafitte later clarified his joke, claiming he didn’t know about the accusations surrounding Allen; rather, he was referring to Roman Polanski, who was arrested in the U.S. in 1977 and charged with raping a 13-year-old girl. He fled to Europe to avoid prison after accepting a plea bargain on a lesser charge.
The same day Allen premiered Café Society, son Ronan Farrow wrote a column for The Hollywood Reporter in which he criticized the media for not asking tougher questions about his father. Allen has vehemently denied the accusations, and the prosecutor on the case decided not to pursue charges at the time because Dylan was said to be too “fragile” for a trial.