Less than one year before the numerous sexual harassment and assault allegations against major Hollywood names, including Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K. and Kevin Spacey, made headlines—and turned red carpets into protest grounds—The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences awarded Casey Affleck the 2017 best actor Oscar.
ICYMI, Affleck was the nominated for Manchester by the Sea, but in the lead up to the Oscars, attention turned to Affleck’s history of alleged sexual harassment. In 2010, Amanda White and Magdelena Gorka, who worked on Affleck’s mockumentary I’m Still Here, filed separate complaints accusing Affleck of routine sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment. The details in the legal complaints (which can be read here and here) include instances of Affleck, who was married at the time, trying to coerce White to stay in his bedroom, and Gorka waking up to find Affleck sleeping in her bed in his underwear. When the women rejected Affleck’s advances, he allegedly responded with rage.
Both women sued Affleck, and settled for an undisclosed amount out of court. However, Affleck maintains his innocence, and told Variety, “People say whatever they want. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how you respond… I guess people think if you’re well-known, it’s perfectly fine to say anything you want. I don’t know why that is. But it shouldn’t be because everybody has families and lives.”
#JamesFranco was snubbed for an Oscar nomination amid sexual misconduct claims. Curious if the Academy will have Casey Affleck at the show, considering he gives out an award for winning last year. Like Franco, Affleck denied the claims, but settled two times.#OscarNoms
— Anthony Dominic (@alloveranthony) January 23, 2018
Casey Affleck is thanking his lucky stars that he got his Oscar before #MeToo. That’s a BIG OLE SNUB for Franco, and I say good riddance.
— BookBuyingWithKatie (@ohheykbo) January 23, 2018
Affleck’s prescence at the 2017 Oscars caused some controversy—but nowhere near the widespread backlash against celebs, such as James Franco, facing similar allegations this award season. In fact, while 2017 audiences largely applauded Affleck’s Golden Globe and subsequent Oscar win for Manchester by the Sea, it was presenter Brie Larson, a vocal advocate for victims of sexual abuse, who really brought attention to the inappropriateness of giving this man an award. Larson, who swept numerous best actress categories the year before for Room, did not offer Affleck the customary hug and kiss when he arrived on stage to receive his Golden Globe and she did not applaud when he won the Oscar.
— Erik Anderson (@awards_watch) January 22, 2018
But one year later and Hollywood is not the same. Actors and advocates are joining together to say Time’s Up for people accused of sexual assault, but for weeks the big question still remained: would this force The Academy to reconsider Affleck’s role in the upcoming Oscars? According to tradition, the winner of best actor from 2017 would present this year’s Oscar for best actress, and vice versa (hence why Larson was tasked with presenting to Affleck last year). So to be excessively clear: in the year of Time’s Up and #MeToo, a male celebrity accused of sexual harassment would be presenting the industry’s highest honour for female actors.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Is Casey Affleck still presenting at the Oscars pic.twitter.com/pBG297SUX9
— Ira Madison III (@ira) January 19, 2018
i know it’s “tradition” but i think it’d be quite the fitting break if they don’t let casey affleck present this year
— kenobus, -i (@lgbtkenobi) January 23, 2018
All we can hope for is if Frances McDormand wins the Oscar for Best Actress then she takes her Oscar from Casey Affleck and then punches Casey in the face just like her character would in Three Billboards pic.twitter.com/CtZWLHIi8S
— ryan (@whittingham96) January 22, 2018
Finally, just a day before the show, our question has been answerd. On March 3, news broke that Affleck, who has been notably absent from this year’s award season, will not be attending this year’s Academy Awards ceremony and has withdrawn from presenting the Best Actress Oscar. Instead, actors Jennifer Lawrence and Jodie Foster will be giving out the award in his place. This information was confirmed to Variety by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Friday.
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