August 6, 2019 2:23 pm

Casey Affleck opens up about sexual harassment allegations, #MeToo movement

Actor, director and producer Casey Affleck answers journalists' questions before the presentation of the film 'Light of My Life' during the 54th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF) on June 30, 2019 in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.

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Casey Affleck has opened up about the sexual harassment allegations made against him.

Affleck spoke with Dax Shepard on his Armchair Expert podcast on Monday, calling himself a supporter of the #MeToo movement.

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The 43-year-old director addressed the sexual harassment allegations made by two women, Amanda White and Magdalena Gorka, who worked with him on the 2010 mockumentary I’m Still Here.

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Affleck was sued by the two women for $2 million and $2.25 million, respectively, and their lawsuits accused him of repeated sexual harassment and disparagement. He denied the allegations and threatened to counter-sue White and Gorka.

Instead, both cases against Affleck were settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money in 2010, and he has said that the terms of the settlement prevent him from discussing the matter.

“Who would not be supportive of the #MeToo movement? That’s an idea that’s even out there?” he rhetorically asked on Shepard’s podcast.

“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,” the Manchester by the Sea actor continued.

“But it is very, very hard to talk about and it scares me,” he added. “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 having been raised by a mother who didn’t let us watch Dukes Of Hazzard when we were like eight years old because it was sexist.”

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He continued: “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. 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.”

Affleck said: “It’s a tough spot to be in, especially if you really do appreciate and want to be a support of the side that seems angriest, and the anger is being directed at you.”

The actor said he spoke publicly “a little bit” at the time “to honour that, like OK, this is someone else’s experience of this and it is not my experience, but you have to respect that someone else had an experience and take that to heart and allow for it to be as possible as your memory of that experience.”

The Good Will Hunting actor said the allegations against him won’t stop him working towards change in the industry.

“(It) isn’t about, oh well, this isn’t so bad, and that’s really horrible. It’s that it’s systemic. It is accepted culturally at its tamest manifestation of it and at its worst, and that it all needs to be turned on its head, eradicated, not allowed for and that kind of like lightning bolt, I think, is effective,” Affleck continued. “I think it’s a lesson that I had to sort of learn and be humble about. I was the producer. I was technically the boss.”

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He said he made mistakes while filming I’m Still Here that led to the lawsuits against him.

“There was a ton of partying because that was the content of this at-times documentary, at-times mockumentary,” he said. “We’re recording everything… It was confusing for everybody and it was deliberately so. And that’s my responsibility. The intention was to have the crew as a part of the movie. I don’t know how much they knew they were a part of the movie… It was a big mess and it was not something that I would do again. I would be way smarter, more sensible, more sensitive to it being a workplace if I were to try to do this again.”

Affleck said after the allegations against him became public, he only shared his side of the story with the people closest to him.

“It is and remains kind of an ugly, difficult, painful period of, in this community and in this industry and in the culture in general,” he said. “And so for me, it was pretty hard to sit by for years and feel like even by people who I really like and respect who didn’t know me, sort of feel like piling on a little bit and to have to explain to people who I know and love who even if they say like, ‘Dude, are you kidding me? You don’t have to explain this. I know who you are.’ You still feel compelled to do that.”

READ MORE: Casey Affleck breaks silence about past sexual harassment allegations

At the end of Shepard’s podcast, Affleck said he didn’t think he’d ever get “closure” on the situation.

“I don’t know if you ever get closure on things,” he said. “I constantly revisit things from my life and my past that are 20 years old. Relationships I’ve had, I think about them and turn them over in my mind. I grind everything pretty fine, usually looking for evidence of what a jerk I was. What mistake did I make — that’s my default setting.”

“I don’t think there’s closure until you finally punch the big clock,” the Light of My Life actor said. “It’s going to just keep going. It shapes who you are. Everybody in life has gigantic challenges and even tragedies, and they think they won’t get through them and they keep going and life goes on. I’ve seen people who have been dealt much worse hands.”

In an interview with the Boston Globe after winning the Oscar in 2017, Affleck previously said: “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.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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