BuzzFeed News

Reporting To You

Arts & Entertainment / cannes2015

The Cannes Master Of Ceremonies May Have Made A Rape Joke About Woody Allen

“It would take a lot to offend me," he told Variety.

Last updated on May 11, 2016, at 9:38 p.m. ET

Posted on May 11, 2016, at 9:38 p.m. ET

The 69th Cannes Film Festival began this Wednesday, May 11, and it opened with Woody Allen's latest movie Café Society.

Valery Hache / AFP / Getty Images

During his speech at the opening gala, French actor Laurent Lafitte, this year's master of ceremonies, made this joke about the director: "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."

Shocking opening joke: Woody Allen thanked for shooting films in Europe, but in US he's not been convicted of rape.

Allen has been accused of sexual abuse by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow, who alleges he molested her when she was a child.

Allen and his partner Soon-Yi Previn at the opening ceremony of the 69th Cannes Film Festival.
Valery Hache / AFP / Getty Images

Allen and his partner Soon-Yi Previn at the opening ceremony of the 69th Cannes Film Festival.

The Hollywood Reporter suggested the joke could have been a reference to Roman Polanski, who pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor in the 1970s, served 42 days in jail but then fled the U.S. during his final sentencing. He has lived in Europe ever since.

French actor and master of ceremonies Laurent Lafitte during the opening ceremony for the 69th Cannes Film Festival.
Alberto Pizzoli / AFP / Getty Images

French actor and master of ceremonies Laurent Lafitte during the opening ceremony for the 69th Cannes Film Festival.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Lafitte's representatives for a comment.

On the day the Cannes Film Festival opened, Ronan Farrow — who is Allen's son and Dylan's brother — published a piece in The Hollywood Reporter linked to his sister's accusations. In the post, he laments the media for rarely confronting Allen and other celebrities accused of sexual abuse with the "difficult questions."

Ronan Farrow at the premiere for the HBO Documentary Film The Diplomat in April in New York City.
Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

Ronan Farrow at the premiere for the HBO Documentary Film The Diplomat in April in New York City.

Tonight, the Cannes Film Festival kicks off with a new Woody Allen film. There will be press conferences and a red-carpet walk by my father and his wife (my sister). He'll have his stars at his side — Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively, Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg. They can trust that the press won't ask them the tough questions. It's not the time, it's not the place, it's just not done.That kind of silence isn't just wrong. It's dangerous.

UPDATE: Allen responded to both the joke and Ronan Farrow's essay while speaking with Variety and Vanity Fair.

"It would take a lot to offend me," he said at a lunch with reporters in Cannes on Thursday. "I'm a comic myself and I feel [comedians] should be free to make whatever jokes they want."Allen's biggest issue was with the length of ceremony. "To me, that is the mistake of the show," he said. "It goes on for too long. Cut that down.”When Vanity Fair's Julie Miller asked about Farrow's guest column in The Hollywood Reporter, Allen said he hadn't read it. “I said everything I had to say about that whole issue in The New York Times. I have moved so far past it," Allen explained. "I never think about it. I work. I said I was never going to comment on it again."Variety's Ramin Setoodeh pressed Allen on the issue, asking if he'd ever read what Farrow had to say. "I made the decision I think five years ago never to read a review of my movie. Never read an interview. Never read anything, because you can easily become obsessed with yourself," Allen said. "I don’t like to hear that a critic thinks my film is a masterpiece and I don’t like to hear that a critic thinks my film misses.”“But this isn’t a critic,” Setoodeh responded. “It's your son.""I've said all I have to say about it," Allen replied.Read the full interviews at Variety and Vanity Fair.
Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

"It would take a lot to offend me," he said at a lunch with reporters in Cannes on Thursday. "I'm a comic myself and I feel [comedians] should be free to make whatever jokes they want."

Allen's biggest issue was with the length of ceremony. "To me, that is the mistake of the show," he said. "It goes on for too long. Cut that down.”

When Vanity Fair's Julie Miller asked about Farrow's guest column in The Hollywood Reporter, Allen said he hadn't read it. “I said everything I had to say about that whole issue in The New York Times. I have moved so far past it," Allen explained. "I never think about it. I work. I said I was never going to comment on it again."

Variety's Ramin Setoodeh pressed Allen on the issue, asking if he'd ever read what Farrow had to say. "I made the decision I think five years ago never to read a review of my movie. Never read an interview. Never read anything, because you can easily become obsessed with yourself," Allen said. "I don’t like to hear that a critic thinks my film is a masterpiece and I don’t like to hear that a critic thinks my film misses.”

“But this isn’t a critic,” Setoodeh responded. “It's your son."

"I've said all I have to say about it," Allen replied.

Read the full interviews at Variety and Vanity Fair.