'Bright' writer Max Landis accused of emotional abuse and sexual assault by eight women

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 19:  Screenwriter Max Landis attends the 'Mr. Right' premiere during the Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 19, 2015 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Sonia Recchia/Getty Images)
Screenwriter Max Landis attends the 'Mr. Right' premiere during the Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 19, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Sonia Recchia/Getty Images)

Max Landis is once again on the receiving end of #MeToo allegations.

The screenwriter, credited for penning Chronicle, Netflix’s Bright and Victor Frankenstein, has been accused of sexual and emotional abuse by eight women.

In an in-depth exposé, The Daily Beast spoke to several of Landis’ ex-girlfriends, friends and creative acquaintances who levied the accusations.

The women accuse the screenwriter of playing manipulative games during their relationships; some claimed he would pretend to hit them for the reaction, threaten to break up with them, and critique their bodies in front of other people. He’s also accused of rape.

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“He trusted that we wouldn’t ever say anything, worked actively to discredit people who were saying things, and was just as consistent in the abuse as he was with covering it up and manipulating us afterwards,” one accuser, going by Julie, told the website.

“I didn’t realise that I had been raped consistently and deliberately by this man for two years until today, when I wrote it down.”

Ani Baker had posted on social media about her experience with Landis last week in a bid to “protect” others from getting involved with him.

“I’m going to give you some direct info I wish I had gotten, because the experience/aftermath of this person is really destructive, and it will be riddled with pain and emotional work that you don’t need to spend your precious energy on,” she posted about Landis.

If you are close to him you will think he’s ‘honest’ because he seems upfront about his shortcomings, but he’s not honest. He tells everyone a different story about his past, his “diagnoses” and his behaviour.

“You’ll think he’s willing to change because he cops to his bad behaviour, but he’s omitting the worst stuff, the horrifying stuff he knows you can’t handle and again, wouldn’t stand for,” she wrote.

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 22:  Max Landis attends Entertainment Weekly's annual Comic-Con party in celebration of Comic-Con 2017 at Float at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego on July 22, 2017 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by C Flanigan/FilmMagic)
Max Landis has been accused of predatory behaviour and sexual assault (Photo by C Flanigan/FilmMagic)

The Daily Beast article claims Landis has spent years cultivating a cult following around him using the wealth, power and connections he’s managed to secure through being the son of celebrated film director John Landis.

“Max’s whole entire MO was, he had a special friend group, it’s very exclusive, and you’re lucky to be a part of it,” said one accuser going by Lainey.

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“Here’s someone with a lot of resources and power and glamour, and he’s surrounding himself with people, basically kids who just moved to L.A. from who knows where, who don’t have a network,” another woman, Samantha, claimed.

“He swoops in, and like a predator, he knows how to hook a person.”

His inappropriate conduct was allegedly not limited to his private life but on movie sets too.

“He would talk about his penis all the time to me, brag about the size of it.” Tara Goldthwait said about her experience working as a set costumer on his directorial debut Me Him Her. “On set he would touch me all the time, he would pick me up and turn me upside down and carry me around set.

Accusations against Landis have been made in public since 2017, around the release of Bright on Netflix, though most remained on social media.

Earlier this year it was reported that Idris Elba was in talks to star in the Landis-penned movie Deeper and Chloe Grace Moretz was to star in his World War I movie Shadow in the Cloud, though she claims “it has been rewritten several times,” by other screenwriters in order to distance themselves from him.

It is also unclear how much involvement Landis has with the sequel to Bright, which both Joel Edgerton and Will Smith will be back for.

Landis has not spoken publicly in response to the allegations but did delete his Twitter account in 2017 when they first surfaced, but his Instagram is still in use, primarily to post Stories.