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Lars von Trier
Lars von Trier

Lars Von Trier responds to Björk’s accusations

The musician spoke out about an unnamed abusive Danish director last week

At the weekend, singer Björk alleged on Facebook that she had been sexually harassed by a Danish director. While she didn’t name the man, Lars von Trier – the only Danish filmmaker she has worked with in her slim filmography – has publicly denied her allegations.

The musician worked with the director on musical drama Dancer in the Dark back in 2000, her only foray into acting. She won an award at Cannes, but abruptly put an end to her brief film career.

“That was not the case. But that we were definitely not friends, that’s a fact,” von Trier said of the claims.

Björk alleged that after turning down the filmmaker – who she did not name – he “sulked and punished me and created for his team an impressive net of illusion where I was framed as the difficult one” and that after she entered the world of film, she “became aware of that it is a universal thing that a director can touch and harass his actresses at will and the institution of film allows it”.

Von Trier has publicly spoken negatively about his experience working with Björk in the past. The filmmaker has previously been accused of unfair and abusive treatment of his actresses; on the topic, he once said, “yeah they submit. I don't think I've misused anybody, but I could, of course. And I could be tempted to. But I don't think I have.”

Producer Peter Aalbaek Jensen, who worked with von Trier on Dancer in the Dark, told Jyllands Posten that he and Von Trier “were the victims”.

“That woman was stronger than both Lars von Trier and me and our company put together. She dictated everything and was about to close a movie of 100m kroner ($16m),” he said.

Björk prefaced her note on Facebook by saying she had been inspired to speak out about harassment after the Harvey Weinstein scandal, which has seen actors like Asia Argento and Rose McGowan come forward. Yesterday, women on Twitter used the hastag ‘Me Too’ to tell their stories of sexual assault and harassment. 

The singer has also been vocal about the sexism that permeates the music world, and the media that boxes women in with misogyny. 

We stand by Björk and all the women and men who have bravely shared their stories of abuse and harassment across the creative industries and beyond.