Woody Allen's Amazon deal angers his critics
Amazon Prime video service will make new Woody Allen series despite allegations against director
Amazon has commissioned Oscar-winning film director Woody Allen to create a new series for its Amazon Prime Instant Video service.
The show will be available to subscribers in the US, UK and Germany in 2016, but the move has sparked criticism from some commentators following child abuse allegations against the director – which he denies.
Amazon Studios said it was an "honour" to be working with Allen, the BBC reports. Studio vice president Roy Price described Allen as "a visionary creator who has made some of the greatest films of all-time".
Allen responded: "I don't know how I got into this. I have no ideas and I'm not sure where to begin. My guess is that Roy Price will regret this."
But while Allen may have been joking, Amazon could yet come to regret the decision. Allen continues to be dogged by decades-old allegations that he abused his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow, which resurfaced again last year after he won a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes.
Farrow wrote a letter about the alleged abuse to the New York Times, though Allen has always denied the claims and has never faced charges.
The Daily Beast's Kevin Fallon accuses Hollywood of hypocrisy: "Not even a year after sexual abuse allegations against Woody Allen turned the star into a pariah, he's back on top with a lucrative TV deal. Why do we continue to ignore predators?" Amazon seems to have plugged their ears to the accusations, says Fallon, who describes the move as "confusing and dejecting".
Writing in Forbes, Ellen Killoran agrees, arguing that the Amazon deal "strikes a dissonant note", particularly in light of recent rape allegations against Bill Cosby. Killoran suggests that Amazon might be trading on a morbid interest in Allen's notoriety, saying "while that's a shrewd business strategy, it also feels a little crass to me".
Amazon risks provoking a backlash over the deal, according to Tom Huddleston in Fortune. He points out that Netflix recently pulled a planned Bill Cosby stand-up special after several women accused the comedian of drugging and sexually assaulting them in previous decades.
But, as Huddleston also notes, the deal doesn't seem to have done Amazon any damage just yet. On the contrary, Amazon's share price rose by more than 1 per cent on Tuesday.