Actor Casey Affleck has withdrawn from presenting the Best Actress award at this year’s Oscars.
It’s traditional for last year’s Best Actor recipient to present the Best Actress award. However, according to Deadline, Affleck “did not want to become a distraction from the focus that should be on the performances of the actresses in the category”.
“He was in a no-win situation, with all the attention surrounding the #MeToo movement. The spectre of Affleck presenting would have created controversy,” wrote journalist Mike Fleming Jr.
Affleck has been accused of multiple incidents of sexual harassment and assault. In 2010 he 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.
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.”
Last year, actress Brie Larson’s refusal to applaud his win onstage made headlines. Larson had won Best Actress the previous year for her role as a survivor of sexual violence in Room, and has worked extensively with survivors of sexual assault. After handing Affleck the statuette, Larson simply stood at the side of the stage and refused to applaud.
Speaking to Vanity Fair after the incident, Larson explained: “I think that whatever it was that I did onstage kind of spoke for itself.
“I’ve said all that I need to say about that topic.”
Images: Rex Features