On Wednesday, French comedian Laurent Lafitte drew gasps from the audience at the opening night of the Cannes Film Festival when he made a rape joke that most interpreted as referring to Woody Allen. Perhaps most shockingly, Allen was right there in the first row when Lafitte, the evening’s emcee, addressed him, leaving many to wonder if we’ll ever hear from Lafitte again after the Café Society director has him fed to French sharks.
As it turns out, though, Lafitte has nothing to worry about, at least as long as cameras and reporters are around. On Thursday, Allen told a Variety reporter that he’s totally cool with what Lafitte said, because he respects a comedian’s freedom.
“I am completely in favor of comedians making any jokes they want,” Allen said to a question asked by 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.”
That certainly seems like the high road approach by a filmmaker whose personal life has made him a controversial figure. Except it seems like Allen’s – or at least his publicist’s – support of non-censorship begins and ends at jokes. In response to a question about Ronan Farrow’s column published by The Hollywood Reporter, Allen said that he never reads anything written about him, from the rumors to the reviews.
“I never read anything,” Allen said. “I never read what you say about me or the reviews of my film. 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. [It’s] a bad idea to consume yourself with this stuff. You should do your work, not call up and find out how the grosses are, how is the film doing, how are the reviews. Forget about all that. Just work. It’s worked for me. I’ve been very productive over the years by not thinking about myself. 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.”
Still, THR is darn sure that his longtime publicist Leslee Dart read Farrow’s column, because that publication was banned from the same lunch event. “It’s only natural that I would show displeasure when the press — in this case, The Hollywood Reporter — goes out of its way to be harmful to my client,” Dart told THR about her decision.
It should be interesting to see how Lafitte handles his jokes when he takes the stage for the Cannes closing ceremonies.