Danish authorities are investigating claims of sexual harassment and workplace bullying by Peter Aalbæk Jensen, co-founder of Lars Von Trier’s production company Zentropa. Deadline has confirmed that the country’s Working Environment Authority, known locally as Arbejdstilsynet, is to launch a review after nine women, including Antichrist and Melancholia producer Meta Louise Foldager Sørensen made allegations against Aalbæk Jensen.
The women gave detailed testimonials to local paper Politiken about their experiences of sexual harassment and intimidation by Aalbæk Jensen at the company’s Film City headquarters in Avedøre as well as at Christmas parties.
The Working Environment Authority’s Lars Toft Pedersen, in an email, told Deadline: “When we hear about relationships like these, we respond. In the light of the information that has now come to light, over the coming week, we will begin to decide what we can do in the current case. The Labor Inspectorate takes allegations of bullying and sexual harassment seriously. We always review complaints carefully.”
Aalbæk Jensen co-founded the company, based outside of Copenhagen, in 1992 with von Trier and has produced more than 70 films including 2013’s Nymphomaniac, 2000’s Dancer In The Dark and 2003’s Dogville. Aalbæk Jensen announced his retirement from the company in 2016 and was replaced by former head of legal Anders Kjaerhauge. However, he continues to produce a number of features including Matt Dillon horror film The House That Jack Built and Stellan Skarsgard’s forthcoming Viking project The Long Ships.
The authority’s investigation comes after Swedish producer Film i Vast stopped working with Aalbaek Jensen as an exec producer on forthcoming co-productions.
“Zentropa accepts that Peter Aalbaek Jensen cannot function as an executive producer in new co-productions with Film i Vast. In addition, Film i Vast and Zentropa agree upon… zero tolerance against all forms of harassment.
It is understood that Kjaerhauge will work closely with the Swedish firm in future. “We are looking forward to continued good cooperation and focusing forward by developing and collaborating new films and television dramas with high artistic quality and public success.”
Aalbæk Jensen confirmed to local press that the allegations “probably happened”.