Bjork Reveals She Was Sexually Harassed by Film Director
As the fallout from Harvey Weinstein's ouster at the film studio he co-founded continues to reverberate throughout Hollywood, a growing list of talent is stepping forward to detail their experiences with sexual harassment — including singer Björk, whose brief foray into film included an award-winning performance in Danish director Lars von Triers' 2000 release Dancer in the Dark.
Although Björk didn't name names in the Facebook update that outlined her ordeal, she did refer to a "Danish director," making it easy to assume — given the brevity of her acting résumé — that she was talking about von Trier. And while she didn't offer a detailed list of the director's transgressions, she did make it clear that her time on the set was something of a sexually hostile experience.
"It was extremely clear to me when I walked into the actresses profession that my humiliation and role as a lesser sexually harassed being was the norm and set in stone with the director and a staff of dozens who enabled it and encouraged it," she wrote. "I 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.
"He sulked and punished me and created for his team an impressive net of illusion where I was framed as the difficult one," she continued. "Because of my strength, my great team and because I had nothing to [lose] having no ambitions in the acting world, I walked away from it and recovered in a years time. I am worried though that other actresses working with the same man did not."
Björk went on to suggest that the director's working relationship with women became "more fair and meaningful" after their time together, although when it comes to von Trier, she hasn't shied away from publicly criticizing his on-set behavior in the past. A GQ profile on the director published in 2011 includes a quote from the singer arguing, "You can take quite sexist film directors like Woody Allen or Stanley Kubrick and still they are the one that provide the soul to their movies. In Lars von Trier’s case it is not so and he knows it. He needs a female to provide his work soul. And he envies them and hates them for it. So he has to destroy them during the filming. And hide the evidence."
Von Trier, for his part, described an openly hostile work relationship that was undermined by unreliable and aggressive behavior on Björk's part, and professed not to understand why she may have had an issue with him.
"The problem with her was a little bit like the problem you have with women," he shrugged. "Sometimes they do something that you don’t really understand. Something that you can’t calculate and you have no idea why they say it and why they do it. That’s my experience. I have no idea why she reacted in some of the situations like she did."
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