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A woman has come forward with an excruciating minute-by-minute account of an alleged 2012 sexual assault on her by screenwriter Max Landis. The accusation was published on Sunday in a Medium article titled “Colour Society” and signed as “The Colour Society Reject.”
Detailing an overnight trip she took with Landis to Hicksville Trailer Palace in Joshua Tree, California, the survivor wrote that he allegedly “ran over” and “grabbed” her after she caught him changing out of a bathing suit.
“He told me later that I had laughed flirtatiously,” she wrote. “Taking that as an invitation, he ran over to me and grabbed me. I wormed out of his arms and ran away, thinking at first that he was just playing around. He grabbed me and pushed me down onto the bed, with his knees holding my thighs apart and his hands holding down my arms so that I couldn’t get away.”
She said he repeatedly tried to kiss her as she kept turning her head to dodge him. “I kept saying no,” she wrote. “Specifically, I stated the following: “This is a really bad idea. Stop. Please, no, this is a really bad idea. No, stop.’ (Repeated a dozen or so times.)”
She said she then pretended to fall asleep when he finally stopped trying and eventually fell asleep. She stayed up the rest of the night in fear that he would wake up and dreaded their drive back the next day.
In the article, the author shared screenshots allegedly of messages between her and Landis. Per the messages, Landis did not deny the accusations when confronted but wrote them off as the two “wrestling around.” He apologized for having a “boner” but then wrote, “We probably just have different definitions of what a ‘move’ is.” He concluded with, “Yeah, I got my signals really crossed.”
The victim said she was interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter regarding a string of allegations against the Bright screenwriter but that the story was pulled because none of the sources would go on the record. It is common for sexual assault survivors to refrain from speaking on the record in fear of backlash and harassment. As we’ve seen from cases like Christine Blasey Ford and accusers of Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K., such fears are not unsubstantiated.
The challenge is especially stark for those whose perpetrators are in positions of fame and privilege, the author said.
“One thing I realized by getting involved in a public #MeToo story is that the most horrifying accounts rarely surface because the extreme trauma makes it incredibly difficult to speak, amplified many times over when the perpetrator is famous,” she wrote. “I can only imagine how many stories like ours have been shelved.”
In 2017, women began accusing Landis on sexual assault on Twitter after Netflix promoted his then-upcoming film Bright. Although the accusations didn’t sum up to much, he disappeared from social media and appeared to lay low professionally. Last week, it was reported that he’s making a comeback for a new movie Shadow in the Cloud.
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque