Hollywood actor Casey Affleck took to the stage at the 89th Academy Awards to receive his Oscar for Actor in a Leading Role in the movie “Manchester by the Sea.” With tears in his eyes, he said: “Man, I wish I had something bigger and more meaningful to say.”
He thanked fellow nominee, Denzel Washington, after which he spoke a few words about him.
“One of the first people who taught me how to act was Denzel Washington, and I just met him tonight for the first time,” Affleck said. “Thank you. And to all of the other nominees, you do great work. I’m proud to be in your company.”
Affleck’s big win comes years after he was caught up in a 2010 controversy surrounding sexual harassment, where two women filed lawsuits against the actor, accusing him of sexual misconduct. Apparently, one of them was producer Amanda White, who accused the actor of grabbing her when she refused to share a hotel room with him. She also claimed he send her abusive text messages and called women “cows,” telling her it was time she got pregnant.
She filed a $2 million lawsuit against the actor in the Los Angeles Superior Court on July 23, 2010.
The other was Magdalena Gorka, the cinematographer of "I'm Still Here.” She recalled her experiences with Affleck as “the most traumatizing of her career,” claiming the actor and members of the crew often openly talked about engaging in sexual activities with her. Hoping things would get better, or at least not get worse, Gorka traveled with crew members to New York for a shoot where she awoke one night to find Affleck lying in bed next to her. She claimed he was “curled up next to her in the bed wearing only his underwear and a T-shirt.” She recalls feeling “shocked and repulsed” and claims that when she asked Affleck to get out of bed, he asked “Why?” Apparently, he reeked of alcohol at the time.
Gorka stated following that incident, she received “a nearly daily barrage of sexual comments, innuendo and unwelcome advances by crew members, within the presence and with the active encouragement of Affleck.” She went on to file $2.25 million lawsuit against Affleck in L.A. Superior Court one week after White.
Affleck denied the allegations and threatened to countersue the women. However, after agreeing to mediation, the case was later settled out of court. Details of financial settlements remain unknown.
His Oscar nomination, a few months ago, once again brought back the overlooked scandal of his dark past. Nevertheless, mainstream publications chose to ignore the allegations to give rave reviews to the actor, barely mentioning the ordeal of his accusers. His case is similar to that of Woody Allen, who, despite being accused of sexual assault, continues to be a revered figure in the industry.
While the Academy, and Hollywood in general, have started addressing lack of diversity over the past couple of years, the entertainment industry also needs to address the problem of rewarding celebrities accused of committing crimes like domestic violence and sexual abuse and rape.
Twitter users also expressed their views on Affleck’s questionable win.
i can't believe casey affleck actually won what kind of nonsense is this— mika (@swiftsshorthair) February 27, 2017
Sex criminal/best actor Casey Affleck https://t.co/RUp8ptxMTF— Tido Macareedo (@mywastedyouth) February 27, 2017
#CaseyAffleck winning is like saying'hail to the sex predator of all time'— Rael Gibsons (@GibsonsRael) February 27, 2017
Casey Affleck did have the best acting performance of the year, but those sex abuse allegations makes you wish he didn't win the Oscar— Mr. Procrastinator (@barack57states) February 27, 2017
@Marghaerita i don't care how "great" that movie may have been. casey affleck is a sex offender and should be punished not winning awards at— ㅤ (@mickeyvaleska) February 27, 2017
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Mario Anzuoni