The ‘Manchester by the Sea’ actor has a history of allegedly mistreating women; stars like Constance Wu spoke out directly again him
Casey Affleck is Not Still Here.
The 42-year-old actor won the Academy Award for best actor last year thanks to his critically acclaimed performance in “Manchester by the Sea” and custom dictates that he subsequently present the Best Actress Oscar this March. But Affleck won’t be showing his face this year: Deadline Hollywood reports that Ben Affleck’s little brother won’t even bother attending the event, since he “did not want to become a distraction from the focus that should be on the performances of the actresses in the category.”
The so-called “distraction” refers to allegations of sexual harassment levelled by female crew on “I’m Still Here,” the 2010 comedy that Affleck directed and wrote. One accuser claimed that Affleck directed a male crew member to flash his penis at her and constantly sent her abusive messages. Another reported waking up in the middle of the night to find Affleck in bed with her. Both women sued the actor-director, who settled the lawsuits and later called it “an unfortunate situation” that hurt and upset him.
But with Hollywood in an extended moment of reckoning about how it treats women, influential parts of the entertainment industry are saying #TimesUp for Affleck. It doesn’t appear that the Academy attempted to force Affleck out, though the organizer of the Oscars has tried to address its critics in recent years. After #OscarsSoWhite trended a few years ago to criticize the lack of diversity among the Academy’s picks, it expanded its membership in 2017 to include more women and people of color.
Affleck’s most visible critic is arguably “Fresh Off the Boat” actress and women’s rights activist Constance Wu. Months before #MeToo became a thing, Wu criticized Affleck’s nomination for Best Actor last year, writing in a tweet: Boys! BUY ur way out of trouble by settling out of court! Just do a good acting job, thats all that matters! bc Art isn’t about humanity, right?”
— Constance Wu (@ConstanceWu) January 24, 2017
She followed up by basically accusing the Academy of being complicit and reinforcing “the industry’s gross and often hidden mistreatment of women.” Wu’s profile has only grown in recent months, what with a major role on the upcoming “Crazy Rich Asians” movie and a well-received speech at the recent Women’s March in Los Angeles.
Wu’s position has also been bolstered by other influential voices. Peter Travers, the Rolling Stone magazine critic whose reviews are regularly used by major studios to promote movies, last year also half-jokingly suggested that Affleck deserved a “golden dildo.”
Casey Affleck richly deserves every acting award he wins, even a Golden Dildo.
— Peter Travers (@petertravers) January 9, 2017
And another major source of pressure came from no less than the internet. Almost 20,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Academy to bar Affleck from presenting the best Actress Oscar since Brooklyn filmmaker Cameron Bossert started it late last year. “This disease needs to be rooted out completely no matter who is involved,” wrote one signer of the petitioner. “It’s time to enter the 21st century where all people are treated with respect.”
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