Casey Affleck responds to Oscars win backlash over sexual harassment claims

'Manchester By The Sea' star won Best Actor

Oscars winner Casey Affleck has responded to the criticism of his Best Actor win at the weekend, which stems from historic sexual harassment allegations made against the star.

Affleck was honoured with the 2017 Academy Award for Best Actor for his lead role in Manchester By The Sea. He beat the likes of Ryan Gosling and Denzel Washington to pick up the prize.

In 2010, Affleck was sued by producer Amanda White and cinematographer, Magdalena Gorka, both of whom worked with him on Joaquin Phoenix mockumentary I’m Still Here. White accused Affleck of numerous “uninvited and unwelcome sexual advances”, as well as grabbing her “violently”, among other allegations. Gorka alleged that she endured “routine instances” of sexual harassment and that Affleck got into her bed while she slept at Phoenix’s house and that his “breath reeked of alcohol”.

Affleck has denied the allegations and settled both lawsuits out of court. He told The New York Times last November: “It was settled to the satisfaction of all. I was hurt and upset — I am sure all were — but I am over it. It was an unfortunate situation — mostly for the innocent bystanders of the families of those involved.”

Following Affleck’s win, many viewers took to Twitter to express their anger, including The Office actor/writer/executive producer BJ Novak, who tweeted: “Can we check Best Actor again”, a reference to the Best Picture mix-up.

Affleck was asked about the backlash by The Boston Globe, to which he reportedly “paused and sighed heavily” before explaining that “both sides in the case are prohibited from commenting on the matter, and none of the people who are condemning him online know what happened.”

He went on to add: “I believe that any kind of mistreatment of anyone for any reason is unacceptable and abhorrent, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect in the workplace and anywhere else.”

“There’s really nothing I can do about it,” Affleck continued. “Other than live my life the way I know I live it and to speak to what my own values are and how I try to live by them all the time”

Following sibling Ben Affleck’s 1997 Best Original Screenplay win (for Good Will Hunting) and 2012 Best Picture win (for Argo), the Afflecks become only the second pair of brothers to win Academy Awards in different categories. Responding to this news, Casey said: “It seems crazy… It must be nice for Mom. I’m pretty proud of all the things Ben’s done, and I’m incredibly proud of the fact the Academy honoured me in this way.”

As well as Affleck’s win, this year’s Oscars was also criticised for Mel Gibson’s Best Director nomination. The controversy relates to historic allegations of antisemitism and racism aimed at Gibson.