Entertainment News

Women made to go skinny dipping with founders at Lars von Trier company Zentropa: Danish author

The author wrote in ‘New Yorker’ about a culture of deeply entrenched sexual harassment at the workplace.

Arthouse darling Lars von Trier and Peter Aalbæk Jensen’s Zentropa has a work culture that centres on sexual harassment, intimidation and coercion, author Anne Mette Lundtofte alleged in an op-ed in The New Yorker about the “dark side” of the Danish film production company.

Lundtofte, who came into contact with the production house while writing her book Zentropia, alleged that von Trier and Jensen forced employees to strip and go skinny-dipping with them as an “initiation ritual”.

Lundofte has spoken out about the purported culture of harassment at Zentropa earlier too and Jensen has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

Lundofte wrote that when she first visited Zentropa, she was captivated by the place and work culture. “But, the more I visited Zentropa, the more I saw behavior that made me feel uncomfortable – both as a woman and as a Dane.”

Lundofte said her conversations with an unidentified woman employee whom she dubbed Sarah confirmed her suspicions. Sarah, the writer alleged, was fired from the company because she refused to strip when she was asked to step into the pool.

“On a cold day in January, 2011, von Trier wandered into the legal department and casually proposed to Sarah that she should take off her clothes and get in the pool with him,” Lundofte wrote. “Skinny-dipping in the pool is a Zentropa ritual. When you’ve stripped naked in front of Aalbæk Jensen and von Trier, you are accepted into the circle of the initiated...But, that day in January, Sarah didn’t want to strip, and she said so.”

Lundofte alleged that Jensen told Sarah, “Either you jump into the pool with me, or I’ll have to fire you... When Sarah refused to comply, a familiar Aalbæk Jensen cry rang out through the hallways of Zentropa: ‘Fire that bitch!’”

According to Lundtofte’s article, Jensen often used the words “bitch” and “hooker” in the context of his female employees. She has also accused Jenson of habitual sexual misconduct, alleging that he groped his employees, whipped out his penis on occasion and spanked interns in front of their co-workers as “punishment”.

Lundtofte had first detailed these accusations in her 2013 book Zentropia, but the founders did not respond. “Neither von Trier, Aalbæk Jensen, nor Zentropa commented publicly on what I’d reported,” she said. “Even more surprisingly, no journalists whom I know of asked them to. For two decades, the Danish media had focussed on how von Trier’s indie powerhouse revolutionized Danish film and made it a global brand. Nobody seemed interested in stories that might undermine that image at home or abroad.”

Earlier in November, Jensen was accused of sexual misconduct, harassment and bullying in the workplace by nine women in a story published by the Danish newspaper Politiken. In a memo released shortly after, Zentropa managers said that Jensen was stripped of some of his responsibilities at the company.

Von Trier was also accused of harassment by musician Bjork, who acted in his acclaimed 2002 movie Dancer in the Dark. Bjork made allegations against an unnamed Danish director in a Facebook post. Von Trier later issued a statement to the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten denying the allegations.

Started in 1992, Zentropa’s productions include von Trier’s Depression trilogy (Antichrist, 2009; Melancholia, 2011; Nyphomaniac, 2015) and an erotic series for women. Zentropa has produced many of von Trier’s acclaimed films, including The Idiots (1998) and Festen (1998).

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Get ready for an 80-hour shopping marathon

Here are some tips that’ll help you take the lead.

Starting 16th July at 4:00pm, Flipkart will be hosting its Big Shopping Days sale over 3 days (till 19th July). This mega online shopping event is just what a sale should be, promising not just the best discounts but also buying options such as no cost EMIs, buyback guarantee and product exchanges. A shopping festival this big, packed with deals that you can’t get yourself to refuse, can get overwhelming. So don’t worry, we’re here to tell you why Big Shopping Days is the only sale you need, with these helpful hints and highlights.

Samsung Galaxy On Nxt (64 GB)

A host of entertainment options, latest security features and a 13 MP rear camera that has mastered light come packed in sleek metal unibody. The sale offers an almost 40% discount on the price. Moreover, there is a buyback guarantee which is part of the deal.

Original price: Rs. 17,900

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 10,900

Samsung 32 inches HD Ready LED TV

Another blockbuster deal in the sale catalogue is this audio and visual delight. Apart from a discount of 41%, the deal promises no-cost EMIs up to 12 months.

Original price: Rs. 28,890

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 10,900

Intel Core I3 equipped laptops

These laptops will make a thoughtful college send-off gift or any gift for that matter. Since the festive season is around the corner, you might want to make use of this sale to bring your A-game to family festivities.

Original price: Rs. 25,590

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 21,900

Fashion

If you’ve been planning a mid-year wardrobe refresh, Flipkart’s got you covered. The Big Shopping Days offer 50% to 80% discount on men’s clothing. You can pick from a host of top brands including Adidas and Wrangler.

With more sale hours, Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days sale ensures we can spend more time perusing and purchasing these deals. Apart from the above-mentioned products, you can expect up to 80% discount across categories including mobiles, appliances, electronics, fashion, beauty, home and furniture.

Features like blockbuster deals that are refreshed every 8 hours along with a price crash, rush hour deals from 4-6 PM on the starting day and first-time product discounts makes this a shopping experience that will have you exclaiming “Sale ho to aisi! (warna na ho)”

Set your reminders and mark your calendar, Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days starts 16th July, 4 PM and end on 19th July. To participate in 80 hours of shopping madness, click here.

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Flipkart and not by the Scroll editorial team.