Woody Allen defends Spanish football boss Luis Rubiales amid sexual harassment scandal

Woody Allen has spoken out in defence of Spanish football boss Luis Rubiales after he was condemned for kissing player Jenni Hermoso at the World Cup final.

The president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation has faced widespread criticism after kissing midfielder Hermoso on the lips following the game in August. While many have called for him to resign, controversial director Allen has now argued that Rubiales should keep his job.

Over the weekend, the Midnight in Paris filmmaker was in attendance at the Venice Film Festival to debut his 50th movie, the romantic-comedy Coup de Chance. The film was met with a five-minute standing ovation at a screening on Monday (4 September).

In an interview with Spanish-language publication El Mundo following the screening, the 87-year-old was asked about Rubiales, 46, kissing Hermoso, 33, after Spain beat England in the World Cup final.

In response, Allen said that the football boss should apologise to Hermoso, who has said that the kiss was not consensual. However, Allen argued that Rubiales shouldn’t lose his job over what he called “just a kiss”.

“The kiss on the soccer player was wrong, but it did not burn down a school,” Allen said (via The Daily Mail). “He has the duty to apologise and go ahead… They didn’t hide, nor did he kiss her in a dark alley.

“He wasn’t raping her, it was just a kiss and she was a friend. What’s wrong with that?”

The director continued: “In any case, it is difficult to understand that a person can lose their job and be penalised in that way for kissing someone.”

FA Spanish president Luis Rubiales kisses footballer Jenni Hermoso

(BBC)

The Independent has contacted Hermoso’s representatives for comment.

Along with her 22 teammates, Hermoso has refused to play for the national team until Rubiales resigns. In addition to Hermoso and her teammates, the RFEF regional heads have also called for Rubiales’ resignation. Members of the Spanish government have added their voices to those demanding he steps aside.

Rubiales has been provisionally suspended by Fifa for an initial period of 90 days, pending an investigation into his behaviour, but has refused to quit.

As well as his post-match conduct during the medal ceremony, Rubiales had been criticised for grabbing his crotch in celebration during the match. At the time, he was stood in the stadium’s VIP area, metres away from Spain’s Queen Letizia and her teenage daughter.

Allen’s remarks come after he spoke in another recent interview about whether or not he feels he has been “cancelled”.

In recent years, the Midnight in Paris director’s name has been associated with allegations by Dylan Farrow, his adoptive daughter with Mia Farrow, who has accused him of molesting her as a child.

Allen arrives in Venice for the premiere of his new film

(Getty Images)

Dylan first made the allegations in 1992, and shared them as an adult in an open letter published in 2014 on The New York Times’s website, as well as in a 2016 opinion piece for The Los Angeles Times, and a 2018 interview with CBS.

Allen has denied the allegations, and no charges have been brought against him.

Speaking about his experiences of so-called cancel culture following the Coup de Chance premiere, Allen told Variety that he found the whole thing “so silly”.

“I don’t think about it,” Allen said. “I don’t know what it means to be cancelled. I know that over the years everything has been the same for me. I make my movies. What has changed is the presentation of the films.

“I work and it’s the same routine for me. I write the script, raise the money, make the film, shoot it, edit it, it comes out. The difference is not is not from cancel culture. The difference is the way they present the films. It’s that that’s the big change.”

Coup de Chance is scheduled for release in France on 27 September, but does not currently have a US release planned.

Rape Crisis offers support for those affected by rape and sexual abuse. You can call them on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, and 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland, or visit their website at www.rapecrisis.org.uk.

If you are in the US, you can call Rainn on 800-656-HOPE (4673)