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Casey Affleck is Mounting a Comeback Despite Sexual-Harassment Claims

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Marilla Sicilia/Getty

The Oscar winner settled two womens civil suits in 2010. Hes since been able to move on from the scandal without much public atonement, while the women have remained silent.

Cheyenne Roundtree

Entertainment Reporter

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Casey Afflecks slow and steady ascent to household name, much like his older brother Ben, seemed as though it was about to finally take hold in 2016, with his critically lauded film Manchester by the Sea. Eyes fixed on a shiny golden Oscar, Affleck hit the awards press circuit hard, appearing on almost every red carpet, doing interviews with major publications, and roping in big bro and longtime family friend Matt Damon to ultimately nab the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Yet as Affleck attempted to dazzle his way onto the Hollywood A-list, disturbing sexual-harassment allegations against him resurfaced. Affleck, now 45, had settled two civil lawsuits in 2010 from women who worked on his mockumentary Im Still Here, starring his then brother-in-law Joaquin Phoenix.

The women, cinematographer Magdalena Gorka and producer Amanda White, sued Affleck for $2.25 million and $2 million, respectively. Gorka claimed in her suit that the treatment she endured while working under Affleck was by far the most traumatizing of her career. Almost immediately after joining the project in 2008, Gorka claimed in court papers that Affleck and other members of the production team made lewd comments, they discussed in engaging in sexual activity with [Gorka] and they suggested that she have sex with the camera assistant.

She said she left the film for the final time due to the harassment and abuse. She claimed in her suit that Affleck retaliated against her, refusing to honor the terms of their agreement, including payment and crediting her as director of photography on the film.

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Just days before Gorka filed suit, White filed her own complaint, going into greater detail about the comments and conduct that Affleck and the crew allegedly inflicted upon the women. She claimed that Affleck once grabbed in a hostile manner in an effort to intimidate her into complying after she refused to stay a night in a hotel room with the married actor.

On another occasion, Affleck instructed a crew member to take off his pants in order to show [White] his penis, even after [White] objected, her complaint claimed. She claimed Affleck remarked isnt it about time you get pregnant? when he learned of her age, as well as allegedly referred to women as cows and discussed his and other celebrities sexual exploits.

At the time of the suits, Affleck denied any wrongdoing, characterizing it as a contract dispute gone awry, and his powerhouse lawyer Marty Singer threatened the women with a countersuit. Both women settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

ishonest reached out to Gorka and White for comment.

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Months later, the #MeToo movement ripped through Hollywood, gaining worldwide attention due to damning exposes about mega-producer Harvey Weinstein, who was accused of sexual assault and harassment by dozens of women.

First of all, that I was ever involved in a conflict that resulted in a lawsuit is something that I really regret, he said. 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 didnt know how to handle it and I didnt 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 theyve respected me and my privacy.

Of course, Affleck revealed his real motivation for doing the interview earlier on during the conversation. If Im not promoting a movie, Im not going to do any press, so thats why you havent heard from me, he said.

Casey Affleck poses at the Light of My Life photocall during the 69th Berlinale International Film Festival Berlin at Grand Hyatt Hotel on Feb. 8, 2019, in Berlin, Germany.

Pascal LeSegretain/Getty

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The following year, while on a press campaign for his feature directorial debut, Light of My Life, Affleck offered a different take on why he didnt speak out sooner in support of #MeToo, saying he figured the best thing to do was to just be quiet so I didnt seem to be in opposition to something that I really wanted to champion.

Who would not be supportive of the #MeToo movement, he asked. That there are some people saying we do not believe in equality and we think the workplace should be a dangerous place for certain people and not for others. Thats preposterous.

Its now 2021, more than a decade since the civil suits were settled, and it seems Affleck has rebounded from the claims against him. He has a new movie out, Every Breath You Take; recently starred in Our Friend alongside Dakota Johnson and Jason Segel; and produced and starred in The World to Come, a critically acclaimed drama opposite Academy Award nominee Vanessa Kirby. He also has a number of other projects in various stages of production, including his sophomore effort behind the camera.

The allegations have been almost completely sidestepped in recent interviews with the actor. One publication referenced how he skipped the Oscars in 2018, yet breezed by why, while another asked him to reflect on his choices over the course of his 25-year career, prompting Affleck to discuss wanting to direct more.

By largely ignoring the previous claims, Affleck has been allowed to come across as an insightful, brooding artist on a journey of self-discovery and on the precipice of reclaiming his delayed stardom. And while it can be argued that the settled lawsuits are more than a decade old and that Affleck has acknowledged them, there hasnt been a true examination of his efforts to right his wrongs, or an in-depth interview with Affleck probing the allegations. .

Its really only his side that the public gets to hear, too. Its impossible to truly know if either Magdalena Gorka or Amanda White agree with Afflecks previous characterization of everyone just wanting to move on out of respect for their privacy, as neither has ever spoken out about their experiences since signing confidentiality agreements back in 2010.

Read more on: thedailybeast, sexual, harassment, claims


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