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‘Amsterdam’ Director David O. Russell’s Admitted Sexual Assault Of His Niece Resurfaces As Film Gets Scathing Reviews

Photo: Loredana Sangiuliano / 20th Century Studios
David O. Russell, Christian Bale, Margot Robbie

Long-time film director David O. Russell has seen his latest release, "Amsterdam," flop at the box office and in the hearts of reviewers as many people on social media point to his past.

Alongside Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, and John David Washington, the Golden Globe winner managed to waste a star-studded cast that also includes Rami Malek, Zoe Saldana, Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Rock, Mike Myers, Robert De Niro, Michael Shannon and Timothy Olyphant.

David O. Russel was accused of abusing his niece — here's a timeline of his allegations.

In 2000, George Clooney accused David O. Russel of being aggressive on set.

On the set of Russell's 1999 film, “Three Kings,” conflicts between Russell and George Clooney got so heated that Clooney alleged the director headbutted him.

During an interview with Playboy in June 2000, Clooney recalled "the worst experience of [his] life."

Russell, best known for his directorial role in “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle”, had already been treating fellow cast and staff poorly that day.

Clooney took it upon himself to try and calm the director down, which only enraged him more, telling Clooney to hit him.

"I’m looking at him like he’s out of his mind. Then he started banging me on the head with his head. He goes, ‘Hit me, you p---y. Hit me.’ Then he got me by the throat and I went nuts," he said.

In 2004, footage of David O. Russell yelling at Lily Tomlin surfaced online.

Resurfaced footage from the set of Russell’s 2004 film “I Heart Huckabees” shows Russell aggressively shouting at actress Lily Tomlin before throwing things at her and storming offset.

Tomlin did later state the pair made up.

In December 2011, David O. Russell admitted to groping his transgender niece after she accused him of sexual assault.

According to a police report filed by Russell’s niece, Nicole Peloquin, the director sexually assaulted the then 19-year-old at a hotel gym in Florida.

Peloquin claimed that Russell was helping her with abdominal exercises and “hovered” his hand above her genital area.

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He also allegedly probed her about hormone therapy and her increased breast size before reaching his hands under her shirt and feeling her breasts.

Russell confirmed the incident had occurred but claimed that Peloquin was "acting very provocative toward him" and invited him to feel her breasts.

He also admitted to being "curious about the breast enhancement."

The case was closed without any charges being filed against Russell because the alleged assault wasn’t witnessed by police, a disturbing reflection of how vulnerable transgender women are to sexual assault and having allegations overlooked.

In 2013, David O. Russell made Amy Adams cry on the set of "American Hustle."

When leaked Sony emails were revealed in May 2017, they showed that male castmates on the 2013 film “American Hustle” were paid more than their female co-stars, Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams both expressed their disappointment with the pay gap.

Adams said she had cried regularly while shooting the movie that would later earn her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

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“I was really just devastated on set,” said Adams. “I mean, not every day, but most. Jennifer doesn’t take any of it on. She’s Teflon. And I am not Teflon.”

The emails also allegedly revealed that Adams was “so abused” that Christian Bale was forced to intervene and stop the director.

Has David O. Russell faced any consequences for his behavior?

Amid the Harvey Weinstein scandal in 2017, Russell faced a judgment day of sorts, albeit short-lived, when his project was pulled due to its association with The Weinstein Company.

Many people online are pointing to Russell's most recent flop as an outcome of his publicized abuses — alleging that seeing his name attached to a project immediately turns people away.

"Amsterdam," which was filmed with a budget of $80 million, only procured $10 million over the weekend and currently sits at a 34% rating on RottenTomatoes.com.

Yet, still, many believe Russell has faced few consequences for his own actions, leaving some film fans particularly perplexed by his ability to keep attracting stars who have been outspoken on sexual abuse to his casts.

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment. Keep up with her Twitter for more.

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