Fame and celebrity

Casey Affleck will not present at the Oscars this year after sexual harassment claims

Affleck won Best Actor for ‘Manchester by the Sea’ last year, but his success was mired in sexual harassment claims stemming from 2010

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 January, 2018, 4:51am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 January, 2018, 8:45pm

Casey Affleck will not present the Best Actress award at the 90th Academy Awards this year despite winning the Best Actor award last year, it has emerged.

Affleck’s publicist confirmed on Thursday that the actor is not attending the ceremony on March 4. Traditionally, the reigning Best Actor winner returns to present the Best Actress award.

Sexual harassment allegations were made against Affleck in 2010 during the production of his poorly received directorial debut, mockumentary I’m Not Here.

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The civil suits were settled for undisclosed sums. Affleck has said the terms of the settlement prevent him from discussing it.

The allegations have been subject to heightened scrutiny in the midst of the Me Too movement, and Affleck’s Oscars participation was a lingering question.

A film academy spokesperson said that they appreciate the decision to keep the focus on the show and on the great work of this year.

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The claims against Affleck were made by Amanda White and Magdalena Gorka, the producer and cinematographer on I’m Still Here, sued Affleck for what they described as repeated sexual harassment.

Affleck, who has always vehemently denied any wrongdoing, employed the services of celebrity lawyer Marty Singer – known as “Hollywood’s guard dog” – and settled for an undisclosed amount in both cases.

The twin US$2 million lawsuits painted the actor at best as a manipulative ringmaster, an image at odds with his own self-projection as a fame-shy artist toiling away on the edges of an industry that has long overlooked his talent.

Gorka left the film after treatment described in her lawsuit as “the most traumatising of her career,” accusing Affleck and other crew members of openly talking about engaging in sexual acts with her.

She said on one occasion when the crew stayed at an apartment in New York, she was “shocked and repulsed” when she awoke to find Affleck, whose breath “reeked of alcohol,” in bed with her, arms around her.

Among the other allegations – all of which Affleck rejects – White says the star got an assistant cameraman to expose himself, despite her protestations, during a flight.

On one occasion during filming in Costa Rica, White couldn’t get into her room, her lawsuit alleged, because Affleck and the film’s star, Joaquin Phoenix, were having sex with two women on the other side of the locked door.

Affleck was married at the time to Phoenix’s sister, Summer, with whom he has two children, although the couple have since split.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse