In a story that even David O. Russell wishes were just another “David O. Russell walks out on something” report, director David O. Russell has become the unlikely center of a quasi-incestuous, inappropriate groping scandal involving his 19-year-old transgender niece—a story that most of you would probably like to walk out on yourselves, toot sweet, but hey, we’ve already come this far, so here we go. As reported by The Wrap, Russell spent last Friday working out in the gym with his adopted sister’s son, Nicholas “Nicole” Peloquin, a 19-year-old who’s currently undergoing hormone treatments in preparation for upcoming gender-reassignment surgery. And while doing some abdominal exercises, during which Russell’s hand “hovered above Peloquin’s private parts,” the discussion naturally turned to the way the hormones had increased the size of Peloquin’s breasts. Not so naturally, Russell then slipped his hand under Peloquin’s shirt to find out for himself.
In the police report, Russell says that he only did so because he was “curious about the breast enhancement,” insisting that he did it only after she gave him permission, and even then he repeatedly asked if he was making her uncomfortable. But his niece, while admitting that she never asked Russell to stop, later told her family that she did feel violated, spurring her to contact authorities. The fact that Russell made her “pinky swear” not to tell anyone probably didn’t help those feelings that something wrong had occurred—nor, honestly, does Russell’s follow-up statement to police that, since beginning her transgender transformation, he believes his niece “has become very provocative and seductive,” which is probably not something you should mention in this sort of situation, or in fact, ever. Nevertheless, Russell’s rep has stated that the director “emphatically denies any wrongdoing,” except, of course, for darkening our morning with one of the more awkward family stories since Spanking The Monkey. Anyway, there. Let’s all walk out now, together.
UPDATE: TMZ reports that the Florida police have officially completed their investigation of Russell and that the case is now closed. And certainly, no one will ever, ever mention or even think of this again.