Oscar-nominated film director David O. Russell is being investigated by police in Florida for allegedly groping the breasts of a 19-year-old woman described as his niece though they are not blood-related, reports TMZ.
The incident took place December 30 during a workout session at a gym in southern Florida. According to the police report, Russell considered the touching consensual. The woman, whose name has not been released but who is repeated described as Russell's "niece," claims Russell "put his hands under [her] top and felt both breasts." She later told police she felt "uncomfortable" but "did not ask him to stop at any time."
Russell has admitted to touching the woman but only after asking her permission, according to the police report.
Russell informed police that while discussing the woman's chest, she informed him that one of her breasts was bigger than the other, due to her hormone treatments. According to TMZ, the police were informed by Russell that his niece then "allowed [him] to feel both of [her] breasts."
The case is currently under investigation and both the director and the transgender woman will be re-interviewed, reports TMZ. "The case will eventually be submitted to the Florida State's Attorney's Office, which will decide if criminal battery charges will be filed."
Russell, who received an Academy Award nomination last year for directing The Fighter, has a tempestuous reputation. His other films include 1996's Flirting With Disaster, 1999's Three Kings, during which he had a contentious relationship with George Clooney. In 2004 Russell directed the comedy I Heart Huckabees, during which he sparred with star Lily Tomlin in a video that was later leaked to the internet. Tomlin has since shrugged off the spat as work-related tension.