It’s the Friday before the Golden Globes, and that means that awards season is officially underway. While so many of us, celebs included, will be focused on the perfect red carpet hair or outfit, something that we should probably consider instead is that nominee Casey Affleck is heading into an awards season where he may be winning everything… but is also heading in with a huge black cloud over his head.
Affleck’s film Manchester by the Sea (which you probably have already seen in preparation for awards season) has already garnered the younger Affleck plenty of praise, but in light of some heavy 2016 allegations against him, should we really be propping up this man’s career?
In October of last year, Variety ran a profile on Affleck, which is the first time most people even heard about his darker side. In the piece, allegations surfaced from not one, but two former staffers who worked very closely with the actor and director, including one of the producers and a cinematographer of Affleck and then-brother-in-law Joaquin Pheonix’s mocumentary I’m Still Here.
The producer, Amanda White, claims that Affleck called women “cows” while on set, informed her that she should have sex with one of the crew members so she could “get pregnant” because she was getting too old, and forced a male colleague to flash his penis at her in front of the whole crew. White also claims verbal and physical abuse after her refusal to sleep with the then-married Affleck (he divorced his wife of 10 years, Summer Phoenix, in March 2016).
Cinematographer Magdalena Gorka’s allegations are even more horrifying. Besides verbal abuse (including sexually charged language and threats), the camerawoman says that during filming of the same movie, Affleck invited the crew to stay at his NYC apartment. When he gave Gorka his bedroom, she says, she woke up in the night to find him in bed with her, stroking her body, wearing only a tee and underwear. WTF?
The worst part about every single public allegation against Affleck is that there are probably more women who’ve been verbally or physically assaulted by this man in some way, but who don’t have the ability or bravery to come forward against a rich Hollywood celebrity. And yes, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but stats show that women almost never lie about assault — in fact, only two percent of sexual assault claims are proven false, according to a Stanford University study. And the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault reports that only 15.8 to 35 percent of sexual assaults are reported to police, because the scrutiny that comes afterward just isn’t worth it to a lot of victims.
Because when men assault women, it’s often the women who are on trial. We get dragged through the mud in order to disprove our allegations while the men on trial paint us to be bad people. With Affleck’s movie (and the actor himself) poised to win many awards over the next few months, his mug will be plastered all over television and the papers. And that’s rape culture at work. A man who assaults a woman has a career that continues to thrive, while the woman’s livelihood gets called into question. Gorka not only lost her Director of Photography credit on I’m Still Here because of her push back against her former boss, but claims to have had a hard time finding work in her field because now she’s labelled as difficult.
Meanwhile, Affleck is up for a Best Actor Golden Globe that he may very well win; while Oscar nominations won’t be out until January 24, there’s a huge chance he’ll get a nod there too. In response to the abuse claims against him, Affleck told Variety, “People say whatever they want. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how you respond… I guess people think if you’re well-known, it’s perfectly fine to say anything you want. I don’t know why that is. But it shouldn’t be, because everybody has families and lives.”
While we can’t be sure that Affleck will win any of the awards he’s nominated for, just flashing his face on the TV screen could revictimize those he’s assaulted in the past. Which isn’t fair, and which is why we should reconsider supporting anyone who’s been involved in the harassment of others without remorse.
Will you continue to see Casey Affleck’s films? Tell us @Britandco!
(Photos via Michael Stewart, Roy Rochlin/Getty)