Casey Affleck on sexual harassment allegations: ‘There’s really nothing I can do about it’
On Sunday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and by extension, the entertainment industry, continued its longstanding tradition of rewarding men who are abusive to women when it awarded Casey Affleck the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in “Manchester by the Sea.” In 2010, Affleck settled two separate sexual harassment lawsuits filed by two women who worked with him on the Joaquin Phoenix documentary “I’m Still Here.”
In between lobbing softballs (which, admittedly, was probably the only way to get to the burning question), the Boston Globe asked Affleck about the disturbing allegations that the actor has remained silent on for the past seven years, mostly because he’s been legally barred from commenting on them as per the terms of his settlements. Writer Mark Shanahan couched the question in asking Affleck to comment on the internet response to the 41-year-old’s win, citing “The Office” actor B.J. Novack’s “Can we check Best Actor again” tweet following the Best Picture flub.
Asked about those sentiments Tuesday, Affleck paused and sighed heavily. He said both sides in the case are prohibited from commenting on the matter, and none of the people who are condemning him online know what happened.
But, he added, “I believe that any kind of mistreatment of anyone for any reason is unacceptable and abhorrent, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect in the workplace and anywhere else.”
“There’s really nothing I can do about it,” Affleck added wearily. “Other than live my life the way I know I live it and to speak to what my own values are and how I try to live by them all the time.”
As for no one online knowing what happened, this 2016 Daily Beast article paints a vivid picture of the allegations contained in the law suits Affleck settled.
According to [producer] Magdalena Gorka’s complaint, she awoke in the middle of the night to find Affleck lying in bed next to her. She alleges that the actor was “curled up next to her in the bed wearing only his underwear and a T-shirt. He had his arm around her, was caressing her back, his face was within inches of hers and his breath reeked of alcohol.” Unaware of how long Affleck had been there or whether or not he had touched her while she slept, Gorka said she was “shocked and repulsed.” When she ordered Affleck out of bed, he allegedly responded, “Why?” to which she replied, “Because you are married and you are my boss.” Affleck then allegedly asked if she was “sure,” and when Gorka remained resolute, she claimed Affleck “left and slammed the door in anger.” Gorka then said that she flew back to New York, informed her agent of Affleck’s sexual advances, and quit the project.
After the suits were settled, Affleck’s rep released a statement claiming that the complaints “been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties and the lawsuits are being dismissed.”
The reaction to Affleck’s win wasn’t just confined to social media. During Affleck’s acceptance speech, you can clearly see actress Brie Larson refusing to applaud his win.
My aesthetic: Brie Larson not clapping for literal trash hole casey affleck pic.twitter.com/Ci5LWXLkCr
— Tyler Struble (@tyler_struble) February 27, 2017