Editor’s The following article includes discussions of abuse, sexual assault, and rape.
A report from The Daily Beast has been released detailing the accounts of eight women who have come forward to accuse filmmaker Max Landis of emotional abuse, sexual assault, and rape. The allegations outline a sustained pattern of grooming, assault, and intimidation over multiple years.
Former partners of Landis’, in addition to several collaborators and actors on his past film projects, came forward with their own stories, alleging that he used his family’s reputation and money to maintain control over an elite social group, into which he drew women who he would then pursue aggressively. As detailed in the firsthand accounts published by The Daily Beast, he then engaged in behaviors ranging from harassment to gaslighting to assault and rape, often centering himself as the victim in the process.
Ani Baker, a former partner of Landis’, made a public statement on social media last week that restarted conversations about his continued prominence in Hollywood in advance of the Daily Beast article’s publication:
It is time.
— Ani Easton Baker (@Ani_Easton) June 12, 2019
In a conversation cited within the article, Baker remarked that it’s gotten “worse every day … Every story I hear, I’m like, how did I think I knew this person? It’s horrifying. But I just feel like I need to be as honest as possible, since my goal in this is to help other people to not be in the same position.”
In addition to Baker, the Daily Beast feature includes accounts from Dani Manning, Masha Mendieta, and Tasha Goldthwait, alongside five more women who elected to remain anonymous. Their accounts detail unprofessionalism and sexual harassment on film sets, calculated efforts to control and manipulate them in their private interactions, and a history of purposely discrediting past victims. One former partner said that “the reason I let him back into my life was his subsequent relationships. The incredible, smart, nurturing and empathetic women he conned into a relationship after me seemed to vouch for his improvement and I thought, if these women believe in him, he must have learned. Just by association he seemed like a better person.”
Through lavish parties and his well-known industry connections, Landis was able to leverage relationships, which would then grow abusive. One anonymous victim cited a slow progression: “Abuse is slippery. No one starts out announcing that they’re abusive, you discover it slowly”. The accounts detail Landis’ policing of his romantic and sexual partners’ eating habits and friendships, with family members of some victims recalling attempts on his part to prevent the women from sharing their experiences with him, during or after.
As of this article’s publication, Landis has not issued a public response to the accusations. In discussing the womens’ purpose in coming forward, Baker points out that “One thing I really want to help other people understand, in whatever way I can, is that you can’t see it when you’re in it. It can be the clearest thing to everyone else, to the friends that you’re crying to about the abuse, but you can’t see it.”
If you or somebody you know has been the victim of sexual abuse, the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline can be found at 800-656-HOPE (4673).