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Bjork Label Founder Defends Singer’s Lars Von Trier Harassment Claims

One Little Indian’s Derek Birkett says singer’s falling out with filmmaker was “result of the director’s ongoing, disrespectful verbal and physical abuse”

bjork label founder dancer in the dark lars von trier

Bjork's record label founder defended the singer's accusations of sexual harassment against Danish director Lars von Trier.

Ronald Siemoneit/Getty Images, Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

After Danish director Lars Von Trier denied Björk‘s allegations that he sexually harassed her during the production of his 2000 film Dancer in the Dark, the Icelandic singer’s record label defended her account, condemning the director’s pattern of “ongoing, disrespectful verbal and physical abuse.”

Derek Birkett – founder and manager of Björk’s longtime record label, London-based One Little Indian – wrote on Facebook that he “felt compelled to speak out and put the record straight,” noting that, over this 30-year partnership with the musician, “the Dancer in the Dark project is the one and only time she has fallen out with a collaborator.”

Birkett wrote that von Trier’s alleged abuse persisted even after both he and Björk “demanded” that the director “stop behaving this way.”

“Björk completed the film out of respect for the cast and everyone involved,” he added. “I feel compelled to publicly speak out in fierce support of Björk in regards to her terrible experiences working with Lars von Trier, and I back what she has said 110%.”

Björk published her allegations in mid-October as part of the “#metoo” movement, which saw numerous prominent media figures document their encounters of sexual harassment and abuse in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Though Björk didn’t name von Trier directly, her reference to a “Danish director” was overt given that Dancer in the Dark was her only major feature film role.

Björk alleged numerous disturbing encounters with von Trier, claiming he embraced her without consent and, after she rebuffed him, “exploded and broke a chair in front of everyone on set.” The vocalist claimed von Trier would whisper “constant awkward paralyzing unwanted” sexual offers, even with his wife was standing nearby. In the most sinister recollection, Björk alleged that the director once “threatened to climb from his room’s balcony over to mine in the middle of the night with a clear sexual intention.”

She added that, ostensibly because she rejected von Trier’s advances, his producer spread rumors about her being “difficult” on set – a tactic she described as matching Weinstein’s “methods and bullying.”

Following Björk’s initial accusations, von Trier’s assistant told Rolling Stone, “Lars declines the accusations Björk has made, but doesn’t wish to comment any further.”

The director, through his Zentropa business partner Peter Aalbaek Jensen, then denied the allegations via Danish newspaper Jylannds Posten, according to Indiewire. “As far as I remember, we were victims,” Jensen said, acknowledging that Björk and von Trier’s relationship was fraught with conflict. “That woman was stronger than both Lars von Trier and me and our company together.”

In This Article: Bjork

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