Clint Eastwood film ‘Richard Jewel’ in #MeToo row over female reporter sleeping with FBI agent for story 

Clint Eastwood’s latest Oscar-tipped film is facing calls for a boycott over its controversial portrayal of a female journalist sleeping with an FBI agent to get information.

"Richard Jewell" tells the story of the eponymous, real-life security guard who found a bomb during the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, but was accused of planting it himself before eventually being exonerated.

Olivia Wilde, the actress, plays Kathy Scruggs, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution crime reporter who broke the news that Jewell was a suspect.

According to the film, directed by Eastwood, Scruggs obtained the information after having sex with an FBI agent, played by Jon Hamm.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution slammed Hollywood’s portrayal of Scruggs, denying that was how she got the story.

It demanded Warner Bros. the studio behind the film, add a disclaimer when it is released in the United States later this week.

Meanwhile, Wilde defended her portrayal of Scruggs, who died in 2001 at the age of 42.

The actress said Scruggs was being unfairly judged because men did the same thing.

Wilde said: "I have an immense amount of respect for Kathy Scruggs. I feel a certain responsibility to defend her legacy which has now been, I think unfairly, boiled down to one element of her personality, one inferred moment in the film.

"We don’t do that to men. We don’t do that to James Bond. We don’t say James Bond isn’t a real spy because he gets his information sometimes by sleeping with women as sources."

Olivia Wilde plays reporter Kathy Scruggs in 'Richard Jewell' Credit: FilmMagic

The actress added: "It’s sort of a misunderstanding of feminism to expect women to become pious and sexless."

However, Kevin Riley, editor-in-chief of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said there was "no evidence" that was how Scruggs did get her information.

He called the film "offensive and deeply troubling in the MeToo era."

But Warner Bros. stood by its depiction of Scruggs, saying the film was based on a "wide range of highly credible source material."

The studio said: "It is unfortunate, and the ultimate irony, that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, having been a part of the rush to judgment of Richard Jewell, is now trying to malign our filmmakers and cast.

"The AJC’s claims are baseless and we will vigorously defend against them."

Meanwhile, several media figures called for a boycott of the film due to its "sexist" portrayal of Scruggs.

Mark Joseph Stern, of Slate magazine, said it was promoting an "egregiously sexist, demeaning, insulting trope."

He added: "Please do not reward Clint Eastwood for deploying it."

Apple cancels premiere of ‘The Banker’ over ‘concerns’

Apple has canceled the world premiere of one of its first original films as it investigates sexual abuse allegations involving the family of the person the movie is based on.

"The Banker" was supposed to debut on Thursday in Hollywood at the American Film Institute’s AFI Fest.

The movie stars Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, and Nicholas Hoult.

Mackie plays Bernard Garrett Sr, who in the 1950s and 1960s recruited a white man, Matt Steiner, played by Hoult, as the face of his property and banking business.

According to The Hollywood Reporter two daughters of Mr Garrett contacted Apple, claiming that as children they were abused by Bernard Garrett Jr, their half-brother.

Bernard Garrett Jr had been a producer on the film but stepped down after the allegations, it was reported.

An Apple spokesman said: "We purchased ‘The Banker’ earlier this year as we were moved by the film’s entertaining and educational story about social change and financial literacy.

"Last week some concerns surrounding the film were brought to our attention. We, along with the filmmakers, need some time to look into these matters and determine the best next steps. In light of this, we are no longer premiering ‘The Banker’ at AFI Fest."

Mr Garrett Jr did not respond to requests for comment from The Hollywood Reporter.

Apple has been buying films to feed Apple TV+, the subscription video streaming service that the iPhone maker launched this month.

"The Banker" is due to hit cinemas on Dec 6 before streaming on Apple TV+, but it was not clear whether those plans were still in place.

The movie was Apple’s boldest step yet into film-making. AFI said it would replace "The Banker" with a screening of Noah Baumbach’s Netflix release "Marriage Story" as its closing-night film. 

France to bar film companies that don’t meet strict new sexual harassment rules

France has launched a crackdown on sexual abuse and harassment in its film industry as the county’s notoriously close-knit cultural establishment reels from accusations it has failed to stamp out a culture of predatory male behaviour in its midst.

In recent days, the French film world has been rocked by two bombshells regarding alleged sexual abuse.

In what many are calling a post-#Metoo turning point moment for the Gallic industry, acclaimed French actress Adèle Haenel last week alleged she was sexually harassed from the age of 12 by the director who made her first film.

Days later, French photographer Valentin Monnier alleged that she was raped in 1975 by French-Polish director Roman Polanski when she was 18 after her beat her "into submission" at his Swiss chalet and tried to drug her.

Both men deny any wrongdoing.

Adele Haenel's accusations have shocked France  Credit:  WireImage

In the wake of the accusations, Franck Riester, France’s culture minister announced that companies who fail to meet commitments to “prevent and detect sexual harassment” would be barred from receiving state funding from the CNC film body.

Film companies, he said, should systematically appoint a person responsible for preventing and detecting cases of sexual harassment on the set or during promotional campaigns.

A special unit to support victims of sexual harassment in cinema and TV would become operational starting in January, he added.

The CNC announced plans to offer training courses to prevent and detect harassment in film.

The pledges came as a top directors’ society, SRF, called for crisis talks on the issue. 

The French directors guild, ARP, meanwhile is to decide tomorrow (Mon) whether to blackball Mr Polanski, whose new film on the Dreyfus affair, An Officer and a Spy, topped the Paris box office this week despite calls for a boycott after the fresh rape claim. 

Mr Polanski has been a fugitive from American justice since fleeing to France in 1978 after admitting to the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl.

After long receiving unconditional support from the French cultural establishment, including actress Catherine Deneuve, he received a far frostier reception over the latest claims.

French actress Catherine Deneuve and director Roman Polanski Credit: VALERY HACHE/AFP

Mr Riester warned that "genius is not a guarantee of impunity" and that “a work of art, no matter how great, does not excuse the possible sins of its author".

France’s equality minister Marlene Schiappa said she would not see it, as did government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye. 

Former women’s minister Laurence Rossignol backed an online campaign to boycott the film, adding: ”We cannot allow him to wipe this away, and going to see this film is that."

While the Polanski row is grabbing headlines, industry figures said it was the Haenel case that was the real game-changer.

The 30-year-old actress, who has won two French Oscars, said she was subjected to “permanent sexual harassment” by director Christophe Ruggia from the age of 12 to 15 when she was making and promoting her debut 2002 film, The Devils, in which she played a girl with autism.

She told an investigation by the French website Mediapart that his “forced kisses on the neck” and “repeated touching” to the thighs and torso constituted child abuse.

Her decision to speak out came after watching Leaving Neverland, a documentary about alleged abuse carried out by the US pop star Michael Jackson, and learning that Mr Ruggia was to make another film with teenagers.

“Monsters don’t exist,” said Ms Haenel who declined to press for charges. “This is our society we’re talking about. Our fathers, our friends, our brothers. As long as we don’t see this, we’ll never move forward.”

In a letter to Les Inrockuptibles, iconic French actress Isabelle Adjani said for the first time since the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the victim, not the alleged perpetrator, had taken the lead role.

“It is not what HE has done that is important, it is what SHE has to say. And that changes everything!,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, Sandrine Brauer, producer and member of 50/50, a French group promoting parity, equality and diversity in French film and TV, said: “This was not just a personal account (of alleged abuse), it was a political act.”

Mr Ruggia’s lawyers said he “categorically refuted” any misconduct.