Amid the sexual assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and the newly viral #MeToo campaign encouraging woman on social media to identify themselves as survivors of sexual assault, Björk, the avant-garde Icelandic song-weaver, recently shared a public Facebook post mentioning an unnamed “Danish director” (presumably Lars Von Trier) who sexually harassed her and whose actions were enabled and encouraged by a “staff of dozens.”
In her post, Björk mentioned that she felt inspired by other women telling their own stories of sexual harassment and assault. She said that she entered her film career strengthened by her position in the music world and coming from a country “closest to equality between the sexes.”
It was extremely clear to me when I walked into the actresses profession that my humiliation and role as a lesser sexually harassed being was the norm … I became aware of that it is a universal thing that a director can touch and harass his actresses at will and the institution of film allows it.
When I turned the director down repeatedly, he sulked and punished me and created for his team an impressive net of illusion where I was framed as the difficult one…. The director was fully aware of this game and I am sure of that the film he made after was based on his experiences with me.
Björk has only ever appeared in one film with a Danish director, Lars Von Trier’s emotional 2000 film Dancer in the Dark. In it, Björk played a factory worker with a degenerative eye condition who escapes into the fantasy world of musicals to cope with her emotional hardships.
Björk and Von Trier had an infamously abusive relationship during the film’s creation including conflicts that led her to destroy and eat a costume. She also reportedly wrote actress Nicole Kidman a letter warning her not to perform in Von Trier’s 2003 drama Dogville. Björk has spoken about Von Trier in the past — writing that he destroys women to add “soul” to his work — but she had never accused him of sexual harassment until yesterday.
Björk believes that her standing up to Von Trier caused the director to be more fair with other actresses after her. She concluded her post by writing, “Let’s hope this statement supports the actresses and actors all over. Let’s stop this. There is a wave of change in the world. Kindness.”
Featured image from Dancer in the Dark by Lars Von Trier