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Björk details alleged harassment; Lars von Trier denies accusations

 (Santiago Felipe / Getty Images)
(Santiago Felipe / Getty Images)

Björk, who on Sunday said she had been sexually harassed by a Danish film director years ago, went into more detail Tuesday about what allegedly happened. 

Calling it "extremely difficult" to go public on the topic and expecting immediate ridicule "from offenders," the singer wrote on Facebook that she could "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."

Once again, Björk didn't name the director involved, but coverage of her on-set relationship with "Dancer in the Dark," director Lars von Trier verifies that she is referring to him. That the two didn't get along has been public for years.

Björk opens up about her experience with sexual harassment

Von Trier on Monday denied the harassment accusations. 

"That was not the case," the director told the online edition of Danish daily Jyllands-Posten (via the Guardian). "But that we were definitely not friends, that’s a fact."

On Tuesday, Bjork listed a number of things she alleged happened on set, starting with being touched without giving permission. 

"[A]fter 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," wrote the singer, now 51. When she complained about it two months in, she said, the director "exploded," threw a chair and then sent everyone home, "like someone who has always been allowed to fondle his actresses."

There were graphic, whispered sexual offers, she said, often with the director's wife nearby. While on location, she alleged, he threatened to climb from his hotel balcony to hers in the middle of the night with sex in mind. Björk asserted that fake stories about her being "difficult" were planted after she finally stood up for herself. 

"[T]his matches beautifully the Weinstein methods and bullying" she wrote, then referenced one story in particular: "[I] have never eaten a shirt. not sure that is even possible." 

Von Trier has previously told versions of incidents mentioned by Björk. 

In a 2009 article about the director, CNN wrote, "It is rumored Björk became so unhinged filming 'Dancer in the Dark' she ate her own cardigan. Von Trier claimed each morning she would say, 'Mr. Von Trier, I despise you,' and spit at him."

He had addressed the chair-throwing incident in a 2011 interview with GQ. One day, he said, he came up to her and instead of saying hello to him, she spat on the ground and temporarily refused to speak to him; when she finally did, he apparently was overwhelmed by how humiliating her behavior was. 

"I took a chair and there was a big monitor right beside her and I just smashed it," Von Trier told the magazine. "For no reason, or for the reason of the whole thing. And I walked out. What was so strange is that she came to me and for the first time in our whole relationship she was nice to me, and — you won’t believe this — she said, 'I want to ask you something — is it OK that I write a song about how much you’ve given me?’ And I didn't even answer, I remember. Because it was so absurd, because of the violent hostility that we had been through. It was so completely crazy."

Björk said Sunday that she thinks her resistance affected the director's future work and relationships with actresses. 

"[T]he 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," she wrote. "[B]ecause i was the first one that stood up to him and didn't let him get away with it."

"Dogville," starring Nicole Kidman, followed "Dancer in the Dark" as Von Trier's next movie project. 

"Driven by a Hobbesian conception of human beings as engaged in a war of all against all, Von Trier uses the familiar conceit of an individual in crisis as a springboard for his usual fixations," film critic Manohla Dargis wrote in a 2004 review of "Dogville."

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