As I saw the nominees being announced for best actor, I was floored when I saw Casey Affleck’s name. Then, I was even more stunned when he won. Many celebrities within the room shared my sentiments. As the camera panned around the auditorium, there were many confused and disgusted faces scattered around the room as he rose from his seat to collect the award. The worst part of it was that Brie Larson, the woman who was presenting the award, won the best actress last year for playing a rape survivor from the moving movie Room. She now was handing a similar award to a person who sexually harassed women.
According to Mashable, Casey Affleck was the defendant in a sexual harassment suit that was brought against him for his actions against two women, a cinematographer and a producer, while he was filming a docu-farce called I’m Still Here. They accused him of crude behavior and harassment. The cinematographer, Magdalena Górka, said that the advances and comments started almost immediately as they began filming and continued daily. Affleck suggested that she sleep with one of his friends. While they were filming in New York, Affleck suggested that he take the couch and she could take the bedroom. In the middle of the night, he climbed in next to her. She woke up to find him smelling of alcohol and caressing her back. She didn’t know how long he had been there. From the complaint: “[Górka] immediately jumped up and told Affleck to get out of her bed. Affleck responded by asking, ‘Why?’ Plaintiff said, ‘Because you are married and because you are my boss.’ Affleck, undeterred, asked if Plaintiff ‘was sure.’ Plaintiff said she was sure and insisted that he leave the room. Affleck left and slammed the door in anger.
Górka’s case was confirmed by Amanda White, a producer who convinced her to come back after she left the project because of the harassment. White was the other woman who made a suit shortly after Górka. She said that Langdon, the man that was mentioned in Górka’s case, was ordered by Affleck to show her his genitals on a plane. Affleck also tried to make her stay in his hotel room with him and when White refused, he violently grabbed her arm and then later chided both Gorka and White at a meeting at his house. Within her case, she also describes seeing the multiple times that Affleck accosted Gorka, telling her about his penis size and discussing sexual behavior.
Each of the cases was about $2 million dollars each and Affleck’s lawyer called them extortion attempts. But they still settled the cases out of court.
The worst part of it was that Nate Parker, director of Birth of a Nation, had been disqualified from the Oscars for similar accusations. The white man gets a pass while the black man has to stay home. I am not saying that they both should’ve been there; I am saying that they should have been watching the Oscars from their couches in the pajamas like the losers they are.
Casey Affleck is just another case where women’s stories are pushed aside to celebrate white mediocrity. Many judges cite how rape accusations can “ruin a man’s life” when they give them light sentences but the fact is that isn’t true. The president of the United States of America admitted to sexual assault on multiple occasions (the infamous tape with Billy Bush and talking about watching young girls get dressed on Howard Stern’s radio show) and was accused of raping a 12 year old girl, sexually assaulted at least 12 women, and raping his sex wife. Giving these men credit is saying that these women’s stories don’t matter. We’re not going to take their word for it. We’re not going to let their “little mistake” ruin their lives. We can’t let “boys be boys” anymore. They’re not boys; they are grown men taking advantage of a system that is poised to help them get away with it from the start. The normalization of this horrifying behavior leads to people’s lives being torn apart while they abusers prosper. Allowing men like Donald Trump and Casey Affleck to slip through the tracks and succeed is telling rapists everywhere that they can do whatever they want to whomever they want and they can get away with it. That they can still succeed. Why would we want to encourage that?