Woody Allen defends Spanish football boss saying it was 'just a kiss'

The Jewish filmmaker argued Rubiales shouldn’t lose his job over incident with Jenni Hermoso


VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 04: Woody Allen attends a red carpet for the movie "Coup De Chance" at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on September 04, 2023 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Woody Allen has defended Spanish football boss Luis Rubiales after he was criticised for kissing player Jennifer Hermoso at the Women’s World Cup final.

The president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation kissed Hermoso on the mouth after Spain won the Women's World Cup in Australia on August 20.

While many figures have called on the Spanish football chief to resign, Allen defended Rubiales’ actions.

Speaking to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, the Jewish filmmaker argued that Rubiales shouldn’t lose his job over what he called “just a kiss”.

However, Allen did stress that he should “apologise” to Hermoso, who said the kiss was “not consensual”.

Allen added: “The kiss on the soccer player was wrong, but it did not burn down a school.

 “He has the duty to apologise and go ahead... They didn't hide, nor did he kiss her in a dark alley.

“'He wasn't raping her; it was just a kiss and she was a friend. What's wrong with that?

“In any case, it is difficult to understand that a person can lose their job and be penalised in that way for kissing someone.”

It comes as the 87-year-old’s 50th and possibly last film, Coup De Chance, premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Monday.

Addressing journalists, Allen said he had a "very, very lucky life", making no reference to the scandals that have dogged his latter years.

He added: "I have had nothing but good fortune and I hope it holds out, although obviously it is early this afternoon.

"I had two loving parents, I have good friends, I have a wonderful wife and marriage, two children. 

“In a few months I will be 88 years old. I have never been in a hospital. I have never had anything terrible happen to me.”

Allen, who has averaged about a movie a year since the 1980s, is considered a comic genius by many and envied by fellow filmmakers for the freedom that movie studios grant him.

His films - notably romantic comedies "Annie Hall" (1977), "Manhattan" (1979), "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008) and "Blue Jasmine" (2013) - have led to Academy Award wins.

He is known for a certain intellectual and intimate style, dissecting relationships with a bittersweet wistfulness - and often casting himself as the neurotic man at the centre of it all.

However, Allen hit the headlines in the 1990s following his affair and marriage to Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his former lover, Mia Farrow, as well as sex abuse accusations by their adopted daughter Dylan Farrow. He has always denied the accusations and was never charged.

Meanwhile, the mother of Rubiales, Angeles Bejar, was taken to hospital after undertaking a hunger strike. 

Rubiales' mother had promised to stay locked up inside the Divina Pastora church in Motril, Southern Spain until Hermoso "tells the truth" about what happened.

Rubiales has been provisionally suspended by world governing body Fifa and Spain's national sports tribunal (TAD) has opened a misconduct case against him.

The Spanish Men’s team also said the behaviour of Rubiales was “unacceptable”. 

Rubiales acknowledged he had "made mistakes" but repeated his belief that the kiss was consensual. He added: "I will continue to defend myself to prove the truth."

In a statement denying the kiss was consensual, Hermoso said: "I feel the need to report this incident because I believe no person, in any work, sports or social setting should be a victim of these types of non-consensual behaviours.

“I felt vulnerable and a victim of impulsive-driven, sexist, out-of-place act, without any consent on my part. Quite simply, I was not respected."

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