Recent Academy Award winner Casey Affleck has finally broken his silence about sexual harassment accusations levelled against him in 2010.
Over the past several months more attention has been paid to Affleck’s past, but the actor frequently shut down any conversations or interview questions about the cases, denying all wrongdoing. During the awards ceremony and after Affleck’s victory, there was a lot of backlash on social media in reference to the allegations, with many saying an Oscar shouldn’t be given to someone with accusations of sexual misbehaviour against them.
This is a sample of the tweets about his Oscar win (as you can tell, people were not pleased).
"Casey Affleck won Best Actor.
Donald Trump is president.
Tell me again how sexual assault charges can "ruin" a man's career."
— Daniela Higuera (@DanielaHigueraA) February 27, 2017
Yeah, violence against women really ruins a man's life.
— Hannah Stein (@hannahjewcy) February 27, 2017
i hate how abusers like casey affleck, johnny depp, woody allen etc continue to win awards and have a successful career this has to stop
— l (@RAJAGEMINlS) February 27, 2017
Now, in an about-face, and speculatively because of his Oscar win, Affleck is speaking up about the sexual harassment charges.
“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,” Globe reporter Mark Shanahan wrote, adding that Affleck “sighed heavily.”
He then added a curt, almost dismissive remark.
“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,” he said. “There’s really nothing I can do about it 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.”
The accusations against Affleck — ranging from inappropriate touching to verbal intimidation — reportedly took place on many occasions. More disturbing still are the multiple witnesses who claim to have seen Affleck engaging in an abusive and harassing manner.
At the time, Affleck’s lawyer characterized the womens’ accusations as mere attempts to extort money.
In 2010, Affleck was in his mid-30s and was fairly well known on the Hollywood circuit. Producer Amanda White and cinematographer Magdalena Gorka sued Affleck for $2 million and $2.25 million respectively, claiming they were subjected to bizarre and humiliating behaviour, often sexually demeaning in nature.
White claimed that Affleck called multiple women “cows,” hired prostitutes “for his personal gratification” during filming, groped her when she said no to his sexual advances and demanded a videographer flash his genitals at her.
Gorka said she was subjected to a “near daily barrage of sexual comments, innuendo and unwelcome advances” by the film crew, encouraged by Affleck himself. One particularly disturbing incident involves an allegedly drunk Affleck getting into Gorka’s bed while she was sleeping.
Both cases were settled out of court and both lawsuits were dismissed in late 2010. Due to non-disclosure agreements, the public will never know what happened during the legal proceedings, or how much the women settled for.