A week after Bright screenwriter Max Landis was accused of subjecting actress Whitney Moore to abuse during their relationship, eight other women have stepped forward to detail their stories of the abuse and sexual assault they were subjected to during their romantic involvement with Landis.
Speaking with The Daily Beast, the eight women recalled personal stories and details regarding Landis’ behavior and conduct, describing his behavior as “abusive” and “cruel” and assessing him as a “dangerous person.” One woman, referred to only by the pseudonym ‘Julie’, declared that Landis is “a serial rapist, gaslighter, physical and psychological abuser who tormented me for six years, long after our romantic relationship, both directly and behind my back,” due to the shocking instances of abuse, sexual violence, and rape she alleges to have suffered during their relationship:
“[Landis would] bring up his hand and fake that he was going to hit me, and laugh when I flinched. He’d constantly threaten to break up with me, speak about his ‘prospects’ to me and openly flirt in front of me. On multiple occasions he’d refer to me as his ex-girlfriend in front of girls at parties we’d go to together as a couple. He’d openly critique my body in front of people and tell me privately that I had the potential to be ‘so hot’ if I committed to working out more. He’d graphically describe sex with his ex-girlfriends and rate their abilities compared to mine, both to me and to his friends and work associates.
He showed me abuse and humiliation porn and constantly tested my boundaries—this became murkier and murkier as our relationship got more tumultuous, as I grew to view sex with him as the only way to receive love and connect. This lead to me allowing myself to become more and more abused. He claimed that seeing me cry was a turn-on—this later turned into a routine of him yelling and humiliating me until I cried, then having sex with me while I continued to cry with no regard or effort to make things right. He’d instigate fights, belittle and upset me, just so he could have sex with me, and the real, legitimate fights ended the same way. He choked me until I passed out and did humiliating, degrading things to me that I still can’t manage to write out on paper.”
He continued to violate my boundaries into even after our relationship, and if any of this still feels like a blurred lines scenario let me assure you that he did hold me down and rape me while I said ‘no’ over and over. Afterwards I punched him in the shoulder and I told him, ‘When someone says no, you’re supposed to stop. What you just did is what they call rape.’ He said he thought we were playing a game, and that I liked it. He didn’t care.”
To facilitate his abuse, the women claims that Landis manipulated those around him by flaunting his fame and fortune, particularly through his friend group which was “very exclusive”, with those involved believing they were “lucky to be a part of it.” According to a friend of Landis’, “the idea of feeling part of this crazy, creative, weird and charismatic community was really appealing. It gave me this sense of belonging I’d always craved.” However, some have likened the friend group to a cult, with Landis as the predatory leader who “knows how to hook a person.”
Landis’ emotional abuse was also a constant among the women’s stories, such as the abuse detailed by Dani Manning, another of Landis’ ex-girlfriends:
“The emotional abuse took control of me to the point where I got down to 115 lbs. at 5’10—still not skinny enough. He’d smack food out of my hand in front of his family to stop me from eating it. He told me that if I worked out more I’d be supermodel pretty. Except I was not pretty. And I would be told why, in detail. Which body parts and facial features. I’d get insulted if the outfit I wore didn’t look sexy enough or made my body look bad.”
Documentarian Ani Baker also recalls how, after breaking off the sexual aspect of their relationship and insisting that the two could remain friends, “Landis drove to her home and attempted to initiate sex”:
“I said, I don’t want to do this with you anymore. And he said, are you sure? But he said are you sure in a ‘I’m playing a sex game and I think it’s hot that you’re saying no’ way. It was like, are you sure as he is starting to unzip his pants. And I said, yes, I’m not doing this with you anymore. I don’t want to. And he pulled his d*** out continuing to say, are you sure, and he put his hand around the back of my neck and started to slowly pull my head towards him and his d*** is out now. And I said, I really don’t want to do this.
He just continued to pull my head slowly, until it was in his lap. I was still attracted to him, we had had a sexual relationship and he knew that, but it was that I wanted to protect myself and my own emotions. I expressed that to him very clearly, and he told me that he understood. And he did understand, but he didn’t care. So I did it, and I got out of the car. And after that, we just were having sex again.”
Baker went into further details on her Twitter account.
It is time.
— Ani Easton Baker (@Ani_Easton) June 12, 2019
To corroborate the commonly espoused claim that Landis has a history of this behavior toward women, The Daily Beast obtained a legal document pertaining to a sexual assault case brought against Landis in 2008 (the case was dropped by the complainant). The complainant’s friend, Ashley Heffington Dionne, provided a written statement recalling the night she discovered Landis assaulting her friend:
“I was asleep and awoke to what sounded like a person falling, and then I heard what sounded like another person picking up someone and setting them down. I then heard more sounds of motion, then I heard Callie’s voice ask in a confused and quiet voice, “[her then-boyfriend’s nickname]” and then repeat the name she called her boyfriend, still sounding confused and delirious. I then heard a male voice confirming he was [boyfriend’s name]. Knowing her boyfriend was out of town at the time, I jumped out of my bed and walked into our shared living room to see Max over Callie on our couch. He was on top of her and her pants were off and he was thrusting and I could hear the sound of what he was doing. I yelled, ‘You need to leave right now!’ He got up, quickly pulling his pants up, and I physically rushed him, aggressively demanding he leave.
Standing now in the car port I yelled at him that what he was doing was wrong and it was not OK and that he needed to leave right now. He started to get highly emotional and was crying, saying he knew it was wrong and he was so sorry. It seemed as though he was hoping to be comforted in that moment.”
As of writing, Landis has not made a public statement regarding these accusations.
The full accounts of each individual woman can be read in their entirety in the article published by The Daily Beast.