“Green Book” director Peter Farrelly is apologizing after a story recently surfaced from two decades ago in which colleagues claimed the filmmaker used to flash people on the set of his films as a joke.
According to an excerpt from a Newsweek article from 1998, recently rediscovered by The Cut, Farrelly and his younger brother, and frequent collaborator, Bobby Farrelly, used to trick cast members, crew members and even studio executives into looking at the elder brother’s genitals, under the guise of a prank.
Farrelly issued a statement to ET on Wednesday, admitting that the descriptions of his behavior recounted in the 20-year-old Newsweek articles were “true.”
“I was an idiot. I did this decades ago and I thought I was being funny and the truth is I’m embarrassed and it makes me cringe now,” the director said in his statement. “I’m deeply sorry.”
Among those who were interviewed in the Newsweek article was actress Cameron Diaz, who worked with the Farrelly brothers on the 1998 comedy “There’s Something About Mary”.
“When a director shows you his penis the first time you meet him, you’ve got to recognize the creative genius,” Diaz was quoted as saying. The Cut also found an article around the same time from The Observer, in which Farrelly explained how the so-called prank worked, and admitted to showing his genitals to Diaz.
“We did it before she was [signed on to star],” Farrelly said. When asked if he realized he was risking the chance to have a big celeb star in his film, the director said at the time, “Of course! That’s what got her in.”
“It’s a joke,” he told The Observer. “It’s not like I make a habit of just whipping it out and saying, ‘Hey! Look! My c**k!'”
The filmmaker went on to relate that he and his brother had performed the “joke” in question, “Easily 500 times.”
The resurfacing of Farrelly’s problematic past behavior on the set of his famously raunchy comedies comes days after he won his first Golden Globe, taking home the award for Best Screenplay for “Green Book”, where he was also nominated for Best Director.