When asked about his work with Allen on 2008’s Vicky Christina Barcelona, the actor said he hardly had any contact with the director during the shoot and wasn’t even sure that Allen really knew who he was, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
However, Bardem was quick to defend Allen against the child sexual-assault allegations that have resurfaced over the past years.
“At the time I did Vicky Christina Barcelona, the allegations were already well known for more than 10 years, and two states in the U.S. deemed he was not guilty,” Bardem said.
“If the legal situation ever changes, then I’d change my mind. But for now I don’t agree with the public lynching that he’s been receiving, and if Woody Allen called me to work with him again, I’d be there tomorrow morning. He’s a genius.”
Starting last year, Allen’s daughter Dylan Farrow renewed her efforts to have the entertainment industry take seriously her claims against her father. The journalist Ronan Farrow, Dylan’s brother, has been a key figure in exposing Hollywood’s sexual-assault scandals and has supported her.
Farrow has won the backing of several prominent Hollywood figures in her battle against her father. The actress Mira Sorvino, who starred in Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite and won an Oscar for her role, for example, issued a lengthy public apology to the director’s adopted daughter for initially not believing her allegations of abuse.
Bardem’s statement will likely reanimate the debate about the appropriate way actors, studios, and the entertainment industry as a whole responds to individuals who have been accused of sexual assault, harassment, and other sexual misconduct, but deny it and have not been found guilty of any crime in a court of law.
Also at issue is whether audiences will accept and support performers who have admitted to sexual misconduct and apologized for their behavior.
The comedian Louis C.K., who admitted to masturbating in front of women without their consent, is testing this very boundary with a series of comeback gigs. He has recently started cracking jokes about the scandal, telling an audience at the West Side Comedy Club this week: “I lost $35 million in an hour.”