Since Casey Affleck’s 2010 sexual harassment lawsuit came to light, the actor has been rather quiet. He withdrew from presenting at the 2018 Oscars (and skipped the show altogether) despite winning the previous year, but now he’s back and has said some interesting things in a new interview with AP according to Channel24.
Casey seems to be 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 Casey’s film I’m Still Here filed sexual harassment suits against him that were later settled out of court. According to Time, 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, Casey accepted responsibility for his actions and called his behaviour “something that I really regret.” He also said that he’s “learned a lot” from the larger public discourse about the #MeToo movement.
Casey admits to contributing to an unsafe work environment and being complicit in creating an unsafe work atmosphere.
"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."
Now he seems to be trying to move forward and consider himself 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."
But can we really call Casey Affleck an ally when he’s been involved in something like this? But also not outrightly admitting to the sexual harassment that took place, but rather saying he was sorry he was involved in the “conflict”?
Does that really mean we can let him move on without holding him accountable for his actions? Does this interview really show that he's holding himself accountable?
Is Casey Affleck actually now in a better position to understand what he’s done wrong and teach other men about what it means to actually be sorry when they’ve hurt someone in this way and actually made a workplace unsafe for them?
I think this is a small step in the right direction. The first step is admitting fault. The next is to back up those words with actions. Let’s see what he does next.
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