ROME – Sexual harassment allegations against Italian director Fausto Brizzi have prompted Warner Bros. Entertainment Italia to remove the hit-making helmer from all promotional material for his Christmas comedy “Poveri ma Ricchissimi,” which Warner Bros. is set to release locally Dec. 14.
Brizzi (pictured) was accused last month of sexual misconduct by several Italian actresses on investigative TV show “Le Iene,” allegations that have made a splash in the Italian media. Brizzi has vehemently denied having non-consensual sex, but said in a statement following the allegations that he was suspending all work and business activities. No legal charges against him have been reported.
Brizzi is not doing promotion for “Poveri ma Ricchissimi,” and his name does not appear on posters and in the trailer issued by Warner Bros. for the hotly anticipated film, the title of which translates as “Poor but Really Rich.” However, Brizzi’s name will appear on the opening credits when the movie, which was produced by Rome-based shingle Wildside, screens in cinemas.
Warner Bros., which co-financed the film, has issued a statement saying they decided to continue with the release of “Poveri ma Ricchissimi” because “the film is the result of the creative efforts and hard work of hundreds of dedicated female and male cast and crew.”
The statement said “Warner Bros. takes all allegations of harassment or abuse extremely seriously” and that the company has “put on hold any future plans” to work with Brizzi, who is not being “associated with any promotional activity relating to the distribution of the film.”
Following the allegations against him, Brizzi reportedly pulled out of Wildside, in which he held a small stake as a founding partner.
“Poveri ma Ricchissimi,” about a crass nouveau riche family in a Roman province, is a sequel to Brizzi’s previous Christmas comedy, “Poveri ma Ricchi,” which scored the highest take among local comedies at the Italian box office during last year’s holiday period, pulling in more than $7 million.