Film lovers call out movie industry for embracing David O. Russell despite abuse allegations

David O. Russell
Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF

The star-studded Amsterdam premiere yesterday was marred by the controversy surrounding the director, David O. Russell. Though the film boasts some of the best in Hollywood right now, including Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Robert De Niro, Rami Malek, and Anna Taylor-Joy, it couldn’t shake the controversy that follows Russell in light of his past behavior, with many online stating they don’t understand why the industry continues to back the director.

Russell has long been considered a divisive figure, with his work often critically praised and acclaimed in stark contrast to his much-discussed behavior on and off set. He is accused of being one of the most volatile people working in Hollywood, of verbally abusing cast and crew, especially female cast and crew, and getting aggressive with male stars.

During filming for American Hustle, Christian Bale, whom the director has worked with multiple times over, allegedly had to get between him and Amy Adams, with whom Russell had reportedly been behaving verbally abusive throughout shooting. When asked in an interview with British GQ back in 2016 if the director made her cry she said, “he did. He was hard on me, that’s for sure. It was a lot… I was really just devastated on set.”

Adams is certainly not the first actor to have alleged to have received this kind of treatment from the director, with actress Lily Tomlin saying she received similar treatment according to The New York Times and a leaked video from the set of I Heart Huckabees.

Beyond the alleged abuse of actors on his set, there is also the issue of an admitted instance between his then 19-year-old transgender niece back in 2011.

He was accused of sexual abuse by his niece, who alleged that he touched her inappropriately. Following the filing of a police report, as reported in the Chicago Tribune, Russell claimed that the incident did happen and that she was “acting very provocative” towards him.

For all these reasons many movie lovers have stated they will boycott Amsterdam in protest of the director and the fact, that Hollywood keeps rewarding these “power-mad” directors despite their appalling alleged actions.

Amongst the middling reviews for the film came a huge amount of disappointment that men like Russell get away with allegedly behaving this way, with some critics saying that the film shouldn’t be able to “outrun” the scandals attached to the director.

They went on to also call out the actors who worked with Russell despite the allegations against him.

Many seem to go after the female actors specifically, as the burden is apparently on women not to work with these directors!

But others point out that the male cast should also be questioned, with the likes of Bale having worked with Russell on multiple occasions, even after watching him allegedly reduce a co-star to tears.

This Twitter user believes that you really don’t need to go see Amsterdam, it’s not going to affect your life in any way.

This user wanted to remind people of exactly what Russell has been accused of or admitted to in the past.

Some went to show that he even has a whole Wikipedia section devoted to these “incidents,” never a good thing when Wikipedia has multiple sub-headings under the word “controversies.”

With the film’s reviews being a little all over the place, with some praising it as a quirky comedy whilst others feel it doesn’t find its identity, many are hoping that this might start to be the end of the director’s career.

Audiences are becoming more vigilant against directors abusing their power, such as in the case of Woody Allen and Joss Whedon, but it appears that the movie industry still has a long way to go.

If you know someone suffering from sexual abuse, contact RAINN or the National Sexual Abuse Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.