Casey Affleck finally opened up about his sexual harassment lawsuit and the #MeToo movement: “I have to accept responsibility”
Since Casey Affleck’s 2010 sexual harassment lawsuit came to light, the actor has been somewhat MIA. He skipped the 2018 Oscars despite winning the previous year, but now he’s surfaced. Affleck is accepting responsibility for allegations against him and what he’s learned about the #MeToo movement in the process.
In 2010, two women who worked on Affleck’s film I’m Still Here filed sexual harassment suits against him that were later settled out of court. According to Time.com, one woman claimed that he climbed into bed with her while she was asleep, while the other alleged that he used physical force to keep her in his room. Both women also claimed that he and actor Joaquin Phoenix locked themselves in the women’s hotel rooms, instructed a subordinate to expose himself to the women, and committed other forms of misconduct.
In his first interview in a year, Affleck accepted responsibility for his actions and called his behavior “something that I really regret.” He also said that he’s “learned a lot” from the larger public discourse about the #MeToo movement.
"I kind of moved from a place of being defensive to one of a more mature point of view, trying to find my own culpability. And once I did that I discovered there was a lot to learn. I was a boss," he told the Associated Press. "I was one of the producers on the set...and it was an unprofessional environment and, you know, the buck had to stop with me being one of the producers and I have to accept responsibility for that and that was a mistake...I behaved in a way and allowed others to behave in a way that was really unprofessional. And I’m sorry."
The actor is producing again, but this time he’s trying to move forward as an ally.
"But I think bigger picture, 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.' 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."
While his words indicate that he understands the ramifications of his earlier behavior, there are some who feel as if this acknowledgment is too little, too late.
This culpability is more than we’ve gotten from most of the abusers in the #MeToo era, and while we’re pleasantly surprised by his statement, we need more of this kind of reflection—not just from the individuals who’ve crossed the line—but from everyone who claims to be an ally to women so that this kind of abuse and harassment stops happening.