Over the weekend, Björk joined the voices of many women who have come forward about their experiences with sexual harassment, particularly in the film industry. In a Facebook post, she described an incident she had while working with an unspecified “Danish director.” She wrote that when she entered the profession of acting, she realized that as a female, it was the norm to be treated as a lesser individual, saying that she “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.” She continued, “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.”
Although Björk refrained from naming any names, the most notable film appearance she has made was 2000’s Dancer in the Dark, which she famously hated working on due to her turbulent relationship with director Lars Von Trier. According to The Guardian, she even went as far as ripping up a shirt “that she didn’t want to wear in a scene and even ate shreds of it before storming off the set.” The singer vowed that she would never again appear in a movie, and since she has no further ambitions in acting, she was able to recover in a year’s time, but sympathized for the women who also worked with the director who weren’t as resilient.
Björk did mention that von Trier “had a more fair and meaningful relationship with his actresses after [her] confrontation, so there is hope.”
Von Trier reportedly denied the allegations against him, but today, Björk shared more details concerning her sexual harassment experience, including specific examples of how the director made unwanted advances toward her. Read the full statement (via Björk’s Facebook) below.
in the spirit of #metoo i would like to lend women around the world a hand with a more detailed description of my experience with a danish director . it feels extremely difficult to come out with something of this nature into the public , especially when immediately ridiculed by offenders . i fully sympathise with everyone who hesitates , even for years . but i feel it is the right time especially now when it could make a change . here comes a list of the encounters that i think count as sexual harassment :
1 after each take the director ran up to me and wrapped his arms around me for a long time in front of all crew or alone and stroked me sometimes for minutes against my wishes
2 when after 2 months of this i said he had to stop the touching , he exploded and broke a chair in front of everyone on set . like someone who has always been allowed to fondle his actresses . then we all got sent home .
3 during the whole filming process there were constant awkward paralysing unwanted whispered sexual offers from him with graphic descriptions , sometimes with his wife standing next to us .
4 while filming in sweden , he threatened to climb from his room´s balcony over to mine in the middle of the night with a clear sexual intention , while his wife was in the room next door . i escaped to my friends room . this was what finally woke me up to the severity of all this and made me stand my ground
5 fabricated stories in the press about me being difficult by his producer . this matches beautifully the weinstein methods and bullying . i have never eaten a shirt . not sure that is even possible .
6 i didnt comply or agree on being sexually harassed . that was then portrayed as me being difficult . if being difficult is standing up to being treated like that , i´ll own it .
let´s break this curse