In his first interview since being accused of sexual harassment, Casey Affleck admits he contributed to an “unprofessional atmosphere”.
Of late, Casey Affleck has found himself at the centre of sexual harassment lawsuits – prompting the Manchester by the Sea actor to cancel an Oscars appearance in 2017.
Now, the award-winning actor has addressed the sexual harassment allegations for the first time, admitting in an interview that his behaviour on set of I’m Still Here in 2010 was “unprofessional”.
In 2010, the actor was sued for harassment by two women, cinematographer Magdalena Gorka and producer Amanda White, who worked with him on his film I’m Still Here.
At the time, Gorka said that the actor “entered [her] bedroom while she was asleep and crawled into the bed” and that when she woke up he was “curled up next to her in the bed wearing only his underwear and a T-shirt. He had his arm around her [and] was caressing her back”. She also said she was faced with a “near daily barrage of sexual comments, innuendo and unwelcome advances” from Affleck and the rest of the film’s crew.
White, in a separate lawsuit, alleged that he referred to women on set as “cows”, that he groped her, and that he “instructed a camera operator to flash his genitals at her on several occasions”. She also said she was subject to “uninvited and unwelcome sexual advances in the workplace.”
“It was an unprofessional environment … the buck had to stop with me being one of the producers and I have to accept responsibility for that,” Affleck said of I’m Still Here, which he produced and directed. “I contributed to that unprofessional environment and I tolerated that kind of behaviour from other people and I wish that I hadn’t.”
He added: “I behaved in a way and allowed others to behave in a way that was really unprofessional. And I’m sorry.”
Both lawsuits have now been settled out of court, but until now, Affleck had remained silent on the subject. As the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up initiative continue to gather speed, he has opened up.
“In this business women have been underrepresented and underpaid and objectified and diminished and humiliated and belittled in a bazillion ways and just generally had a mountain of grief thrown at them forever,” he said.
“And no one was really making too much of a fuss about it, myself included, until a few women with the kind of courage and wisdom to stand up and say, ’You know what? Enough is enough,’” Affleck said.
“Those are the people who are kind of leading this conversation and should be leading the conversation. And I know just enough to know that in general I need to keep my mouth shut and listen and try to figure out what’s going on and be a supporter and a follower in the little, teeny tiny ways that I can.”
You can read more on #TimesUp here.
Images: Rex Features / Getty