Update: Blake Lively defended director Woody Allen today in comments to the Los Angeles Times. "It's amazing what Woody has written for women. It's very dangerous to factor in things you don't know anything about," Lively said — adding that she hasn't read any of the stories about Allen. "I could [only] know my experience. And my experience with Woody is he's empowering to women."
This story was originally published on May 12, at 11:45 a.m.
Blake Lively is not amused. Her reaction to the rape joke made during the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival adds yet another complicated layer to the controversy surrounding her Café Society director, Woody Allen. To recap: The premiere of Café Society was preceded yesterday by an essay in The Hollywood Reporter by Ronan Farrow about the press's continued silence with regard to his sister's accusations that their adoptive father (Allen) sexually abused her as a child. Then, before the film's screening, the ceremony's emcee, French comedian Laurent Lafitte, made a joke comparing Allen to accused rapist Roman Polansky: "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." “I think any [joke] about rape, homophobia, or Hitler is not a joke,” Lively told Variety at a press lunch on Thursday. “I think that was a hard thing swallow in 30 seconds. Film festivals are such a beautiful, respectful [celebration] of film and artists and to have that, [I] 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.” Well, to be fair, rape being a a taboo subject in the 1940s didn't exactly help victims at the time.
Lively avoided questions about Farrow's essay, saying she hadn't read it. "I came home and went to bed at whatever time we finished," Lively said. "I don’t want to speak on something I haven’t read. I think that’s dangerous." For his part, Allen had less of a problem with Lafitte's joke than his star. "I am completely in favor of comedians making any jokes they want," he told Variety. "I am a non-judgmental or [non]-censorship person on jokes. I’m a comic myself and I feel they should be free to make whatever jokes they want."