Lars von Trier producer: 'I'll stop slapping asses' in wake of #MeToo

Following a Danish government investigation into working practices at Von Trier’s production company Zentropa, his longtime producer Peter Aalbaek Jensen pledges to reform his behaviour

Lars von Trier’s producer says he has agreed to “stop slapping asses” in the wake of a furore over sexual harassment allegations at their film production company Zentropa.

Peter Aalbaek Jensen, who is the co-founder and former CEO of Zentropa, as well as executive producer on films such as Melancholia, Antichrist and Nymphomaniac, told the Hollywood Reporter: “I’ve always been a cheerful guy and I’ve been slapping the asses of guys and girls at the company for 20 years, but I never tried to fuck anyone … But these days that is seen differently than it was five, 10, 15 years ago … So I’ll stop slapping asses.”

Jensen’s comments came in the wake of a Danish government investigation into working practices at Zentropa, following several allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against the producer in two separate newspaper articles last year. Dagbladet Information alleged that Jensen would “spank” trainees as punishment (Jensen later confirmed this in an interview with Danish Radio 24/7), while Politiken alleged an “ingrained” culture of abuse at the studio. Among Jensen’s accusers is Meta Louise Foldager Sørensen, Jensen’s fellow producer on Melancholia and Antichrist.

The report by the Danish Working Environment Authority has concluded that the company has taken enough steps to reform its practices and created a new code of conduct for its employees. However, in an interview with Politiken, Jensen said he was “not familiar” with the company’s new guidelines and habitually refused to obey what he described as “boy scout rules”.

He said: “I know that I’m guilty and that I have been guilty for about 25 years, with my fondness for butt-slapping. And it was delightful until the second I was told to give it up.”

Jensen, who stepped down as Zentropa CEO in 2016, but retains a seat on the board with 25% ownership, has been told he can no longer interact with the company’s trainees.


Andrew Pulver

The GuardianTramp

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