“Green Book” director Peter Farrelly, whose film is enjoying healthy momentum this award season, has apologized after news articles referencing past instances of sexual misconduct, veiled at the time as attempts at humor, resurfaced on Wednesday.
“True. I was an idiot,” Farrelly said in a statement to CNN. “I did this decades ago and I thought I was being funny and the truth is I’m embarrassed and it makes me cringe now. I’m deeply sorry.”
The Cut was the first to bring attention to two entertainment news articles, both from 1998, that referenced instances in which Farrelly showed unsuspecting people his penis, including actress Cameron Diaz before she starred in “There’s Something About Mary,” which was directed by Peter Farrelly and his brother Bobby Farrelly.
CNN found an additional reference to this behavior in a 1998 article in The Sunday Times by author Ivan Waterman.
A passage in the story reads:
So how did the Farrellys win her over? Diaz won’t get serious. Instead, she laughs as she details her “meeting” with the Farrelly double act. “We were in a restaurant and Peter Farrelly showed me his penis,” she says, matter-of-factly. “That was enough, really. He got a positive response. That was all he needed to know. That was fine by me.”
Diaz did not return CNN’s request for comment.
In a 1998 Newsweek story, film executive Tom Rothman, now chairman of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, recounts being “flashed.”
“It wasn’t a pretty sight. In fact, I’m still recovering,” he told the publication’s reporter.
Farrelly’s other credits include “Dumb and Dumber” and “Shallow Hal.”
“Green Book” won the Golden Globe for best comedy or musical on Sunday, but its path to accolades has been a rocky one.
The movie – based on a true story about the relationship between celebrated pianist Dr. Donald Shirley, who was black, and his driver, who was white – has been accused of exaggerating the pair’s friendship and other details about the film have been questioned, in particular by some of Shirley’s surviving relatives.
Globe winner Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen star in the film.
Mortensen was also the target of ire when, during a post-screening discussion in November, he used the N-word while trying to draw a contrast between the period in which the film is set and present day.