The movie director, David O’Russell, who is now best known for making The Fighter but used to be best known for making Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees, and Spanking the Monkey (he makes good movies is the point!) is under investigation by a Florida police department for inappropriately touching his transgendered niece, and while that’s already just a SUMMER BUMMER of a situation, each new detail makes the whole thing more icky. From TMZ:
The Broward County Sheriff’s Dept. has confirmed … Russell has been accused of inappropriately grabbing his niece’s breasts during a workout session at a South Florida hotel gym on Dec. 30.
According to the police report taken 3 days after the incident, Russell’s niece … who was born a man and is currently in the preoperative phase of her transition … told cops the two had been doing abdominal exercises when he asked questions about her transformation.
The niece — who does NOT have a blood relation to Russell — told cops they began to talk about her breasts … and how certain hormones she’s taking have made them larger. According to the report, the niece claims Russell then “put his hands under [her] top and felt both breasts.” Cops say the woman said she felt “uncomfortable” … but admitted she “did not ask him to stop at any time.”
Right, so, OK, there are already a couple of details here (hotel gym? ABDOMINAL EXERCISES?) that set off some Mind Alarms but no matter what we’re already deep into the Swamp of Sadness with this one. And then David O’Russell gives his side of the story and that is where the whole thing goes to hell:
Investigators later contacted Russell … and according to the report, the director confirmed he DID touch his niece’s breasts … but only after she gave him permission. Cops say Russell explained that during the conversation about her chest, the niece informed him that one of her breasts was bigger than the other. The official report says … Russell told cops his niece then “allowed [him] to feel both of [her] breasts.”
According to the report, Russell told cops his niece asked him to “pinky swear” that he would never tell anyone about the incident. In the report, cops say Russell insisted he repeatedly asked his niece if she was ever uncomfortable during the incident… and claims she gave consent.
In the police report, one of the investigators notes, “Russell stated [his niece] is always causing drama since the transgender transformation and has become very provocative and seductive.”
(If this story wasn’t so dark and discomforting, we might take a moment to talk about TMZ’s consistently baffling use of ellipses but THERE JUST ISN’T TIME AND IT’S NOT APPROPRIATE.) Like, OK, you can kind of imagine a scenario in which David O’Russell, who just wants to CREATE like Kanye West, and has a herstory of making “offbeat” movies might see this as an opportunity to learn more about a unique and less-common facet of the human experience and that for him this was genuinely just a moment of inquisitiveness that might have tiptoed a little too drunkenly on the line of appropriateness, but then you have to ask yourself, HOW LONG DO I NEED TO IMAGINE THIS SCENARIO? And also IS IT MY JOB TO DO THAT? Because that is definitely one scenario but it only leads to other FAR GRIMIER scenarios. Like, the pinky swear thing is weird. And the part about him repeatedly asking his niece if he was making her uncomfortable definitely makes ME uncomfortable. And I’m not sure that I’m smart enough to unpack the part about David O’Russell basically throwing the whole thing back in his 19-year-old transgendered niece’s face by complaining to POLICE that she is always acting seductively. OH YIKES MAYBE WE WILL JUST BACK OUT OF THE ROOM BECAUSE I THINK THE JUDGE WANTS TO SEE YOU IN HIS CHAMBERS, SO WE’LL BE OUT IN THE HALLWAY SMOKING A CIGARETTE IF YOU NEED US EVEN THOUGH WE DON’T SMOKE BUT WE MIGHT START AND DON’T DO ANY ABDOMINAL EXERCISES WHILE YOU ARE IN THE JUDGE’S CHAMBERS BECAUSE THOSE ARE CLEARLY PROBLEMATIC EXERCISES FOR EVERYONE AND OH LOOK THERE’S A BRIDGE LET’S JUMP OFF IT.
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