Casey Affleck speaks out on #MeToo allegations, says harassment claims are 'antithetical' to who he is
Casey Affleck, who's been accused of sexual harassment in the past, says he kept quiet during the height of the #MeToo movement to avoid being a distraction, even though he supports the cause.
“Who would not be supportive of the #MeToo movement? That’s an idea that’s even out there? That there are some people saying, ‘We do not believe in equality. We think the workplace should be a dangerous place for certain people and not for others.’ That’s preposterous,” he said on Dax Shepard's “Armchair Expert” podcast.
“But it is very, very hard to talk about, and it scares me,” the 43-year-old Oscar winner said. “Mostly because the values of the #MeToo movement are values that are at the heart of my being; just the way I was raised, they are baked into my own value system.”
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He claimed, in fact, that he was raised to be so respectful of women that he wasn't allowed to watch "Dukes of Hazzard" as a kid because his parents felt it was "sexist."
The "Manchester By the Sea" actor lamented that his reputation has been marred by harassment allegations against him, noting he believes that are "antithetical" to his true character.
Producer Amanda White sued Affleck for $2 million, alleging that Affleck made "unwanted advances" toward her while working on mockumentary "I'm Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix." She also accused Affleck of using her bedroom for sexual activity with other women and sending her "abusive" text messages when she refused to share a hotel room with him and alleged that he ordered a crew member to expose himself to her.
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A cinematographer on the same project, Magdalena Gorka, sued Affleck for $2.25 million in a separate suit. Gorka alleged that Affleck came into her bed and touched her while she was asleep accusing him of coming into her bed and touching her without her consent while she was asleep. She quit the film and accused Affleck of threatening to withhold both her credit on the project as well as her payment afterward.
Affleck denied the allegations and threatened both Gorka and White with countersuits, but eventually settled with each of the filmmakers for undisclosed sums after going through mediation. He isn't thrilled that he's still suffering through the aftermath of the claims.
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“The way I’m thought of, sometimes, by certain people recently has just been so antithetical to who I really am, that it’s just been frustrating," he said. "And not being able to talk about it has been hard because I really wanted to support all but I felt like the best thing to do was to just be quiet so that I didn’t seem to be in opposition to something that I really wanted to champion."
He previously said of the allegations, "That I was ever involved in a conflict that resulted in a lawsuit is something that I really regret. I wish I had found a way to resolve things in a different way. I hate that. I had never had any complaints like that made about me before in my life and it was really embarrassing and I didn't know how to handle it and I didn't agree with everything, the way I was being described, and the things that were said about me, but I wanted to try to make it right, so we made it right in the way that was asked at the time. And we all agreed to just try to put it behind us and move on with our lives, which I think we deserve to do, and I want to respect them as they've respected me and my privacy. And that's that."
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However, he added that the post-#MeToo era taught him "a lot."
"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," he said. "I was a boss. I was one of the producers on the set ... The cast was the crew and the crew was kind of the cast 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."
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He continued, "I contributed to that unprofessional environment and I tolerated that kind of behavior from other people and I wish that I hadn't. And I regret a lot of that. I really did not know what I was responsible for as the boss. I don't even know if I thought of myself as the boss. But I behaved in a way and allowed others to behave in a way that was really unprofessional. And I'm sorry."