×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lars von Trier’s Production Company Accused of Allowing Sexual Harassment and Bullying

Zentropa, the leading Scandinavia production company founded by Lars von Trier and Peter Aalbæk Jensen, has been accused by nine Danish women of fostering an environment where sexual harassment, degradation and bullying are rife. Labor inspectors are looking into the allegations, the Danish newspaper Politiken said Monday.

The move comes after Politiken published allegations of a toxic workplace environment from women including Meta Louise Foldager Sørensen, who worked at Zentropa from 2006 to 2010 and produced von Trier’s “Antichrist” and “Melancholia,” and Anna Mette Lundtofte, a writer and journalist who worked at Zentropa for three years before publishing the book “Zentropia” in 2013.

“I think that everyone who has been employed by Zentropa has been exposed to or witnessed certain things – both sexually charged acts and bullying or ‘teasing.’ All of this was an ingrained part of the culture,” said Foldager Sørensen, who went on to found SAM Productions with Soren Sveistrup (“The Killing”) and Adam Price (“Borgen”).

Lundtofte said she “saw women being degraded” at Zentropa.

“According to the Zentropa propaganda, I would be part of an ‘alternative work culture,’ but in reality, I encountered an old-fashioned, patriarchal power structure,” said Lundtofte.

While von Trier was not directly accused in the report, Aalbæk Jensen, the co-founder and former CEO of the company, is being accused of sexual misconduct by several women. Former employees told Politiken that he would grope their breasts and spank them, and arranged “several sexually degrading acts on stage at the company Christmas party.”

Aalbæk Jensen responded to Politiken’s article by saying he has “no interest in submission and humiliation” but that he is “interested in challenging boundaries, even up to the red line.”

Zentropa’s current managing director, Anders Kjærhauge, told Variety that he had no comment on the specific allegations but that the company would examine its practices and will issue a set of guidelines for the company’s working culture and environment.

“These are personal experiences and I am sad that this is how they feel, but this is not the Zentropa I know,” said Kjærhauge.

“We will initiate a process with our employees in order to prepare a more clear vision in regards to what is a good working place. Zentropa has always been an act of balance between art and business, between rules and chaos, between women and men, between challenging boundaries and respecting boundaries, and so forth,” Kjærhauge said. “The various discussions and writings in Denmark has made it clear to us that we need to make a ‘service check’ on our act of balance.”

In a statement released on Monday on behalf of the company’s management, the company said “it will not be a part of Zentropa’s culture to give or receive smack as neither reward nor punishment….The company culture at Zentropa will continue to be colorful and alterative, but we do not wish to violate anyone’s rights or insult anyone.”

Icelandic musician Björk said in October that she was harassed by a Danish film director while working on his movie years prior. Björk has acted in only two films: 1990 Icelandic pic “The Juniper Tree,” directed by Nietzchka Keene, and 2000’s “Dancer in the Dark,” directed by von Trier. 

More Film

  • Agustina San Martin Talks Cannes Special

    Agustina San Martin Talks Cannes Special Mention Winner ‘Monster God’

    CANNES – An exploration of the ramifications of God, “Monster God,” from Argentina’s Agustina San Martín, took a Special Mention – an effective runner’s up prize – on Saturday night at this year’s Cannes Film Festival short film competition. It’s not difficult to see why, especially when jury president Claire Denis own films’ power resists [...]

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

  • Moby attends the LA premiere of

    Moby Apologizes to Natalie Portman Over Book Controversy

    Moby has issued an apology of sorts after writing in his recently published memoir “Then It Fell Apart” that he dated Natalie Portman when she was 20 — a claim the actress refuted. “As some time has passed I’ve realized that many of the criticisms leveled at me regarding my inclusion of Natalie in Then [...]

  • Bong Joon-ho reacts after winning the

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes

    CANNES — The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival wrapped with jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu announcing the group’s unanimous decision to award the Palme d’Or to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho for his sly, politically charged “Parasite.” Following last year’s win for humanistic Japanese drama “Shoplifters,” the well-reviewed Asian thriller represents the yin [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão'

    A “tropical melodrama” is how the marketing materials bill “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão.” If that sounds about the most high-camp subgenre ever devised, Karim Aïnouz’s ravishing period saga lives up to the description — high emotion articulated with utmost sincerity and heady stylistic excess, all in the perspiring environs of midcentury Rio de [...]

  • Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The 10 Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The Cannes Film Festival is too rich an event to truly have an “off” year, but by the end of the 72nd edition, it was more or less universally acknowledged that the festival had regained a full-on, holy-moutaintop-of-art luster that was a bit lacking the year before. It helps, of course, to have headline-making movies [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content