Björk Details ‘Danish Director’ Sexual Harassment Allegations Following Lars von Trier’s Denial
On Sunday evening, Icelandic music icon and magical human being Björk revealed that she was sexually harassed by an unnamed “Danish director” several years ago. The revelation came in the wake of over two dozen (and climbing) sexual assault and harassment allegations against disgraced former Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein. Given that Björk has appeared in relatively few films, and only one of those was helmed by a Danish man, the identity of the unnamed director was easy to deduce: Lars von Trier.
Though unnamed in her initial Facebook post, von Trier, who directed Björk in the harrowing musical drama Dancer in the Dark (released in 2000), immediately denied the singer’s claim. “That was not the case,” said Von Trier in a statement issued to the online edition of Danish paper Jyllands-Posten. “But that we were definitely not friends,” he added, “that’s a fact.”
The strained relationship between von Trier and Björk on the set of Dancer in the Dark became gossip fodder — a piece of behind the scenes trivia oft-cited by cinephiles and fans of Björk and von Trier alike, the latter of whom has made several films about women, some of which have been criticized as misogynistic.
The #MeToo campaign, which was created by activist Tarana Burke about a decade ago and became a trending topic this week following Alyssa Milano’s tweet, inspired Björk to go into more detail about the sexual harassment she endured from von Trier. Although she still doesn’t reveal his name, it’s clear that this is the “Danish director” who made “constant awkward paralysing unwanted whispered sexual offers” and “exploded and broke a chair” on set when Björk asserted herself.
According to the singer and actress, her refusal of the director’s advances — which included threatening to “climb from his room’s balcony over to [hers] in the middle of the night with a clear sexual intention” — led to stories in the press suggesting she was “difficult.” It’s a sadly familiar story for many women in the film industry, particularly those who stand up for themselves; whether it’s protecting their artistic integrity, defending themselves against criticisms, or refusing unwanted sexual advances, these women are almost always labeled “difficult.”
But that’s not necessarily a bad reputation to have.
“If being difficult is standing up to being treated like that,” Björk says, “I’ll own it.” Read her full post below: