In 2010, actor Casey Affleck was sued for sexual harassment by two crew members from his film I’m Still Here — producer Amanda White and cinematographer Magdalena Gorka.
But 12 years later, Casey has gone on to have an award-winning career and star in critically-acclaimed films. It’s as if the sexual harassment just… never happened.
Except, it did happen. So we’re going to go ahead and remind you.
‘I’m Still Here’
Casey’s harassment of Amanda and Magdalena is said to have happened on the set of the mockumentary-style film I’m Still Here. The bizarre film is most commonly remembered for star Joaquin Phoenix’s attempts to convince the world that he was retiring from actor to pursue a rap career (spoiler: it was all a hoax for the film).
But Joaquin’s odd behavior was the least of the film’s worries. Because behind the scenes, fellow actor Casey Affleck was making lewd comments to female crew members, violently grabbing them, and getting into their beds while they slept (without their consent if that wasn’t clear).
Amanda White’s Allegations Against Casey Affleck
On July 23, 2010, Amanda filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Casey. In her court documents, she asserts that Casey:
• Made uninvited and unwelcome sexual advances while at work
• Instructed another crew member to show his penis to her
• Repeatedly referred to women as ‘cows’
• Invited her to stay in his hotel room and then grabbed her in an attempt to coerce her when she said no
Magdalena Gorka’s Allegations Against Casey Affleck
A week later, Magdalena filed her own lawsuit against Casey which she called the sexual harassment “by far the most traumatizing of her career.”
Her court documents assert that Casey:
• Made lewd comments
• Discussed having sex with her with other crew members
• Crawled into her bed while she was sleeping while wearing only a t-shirt and underwear. He then proceeded to put his arm around her and caress her back without her consent.
• Actively encouraged other crew members to make sexual comments, innuendo, and unwelcome advances
• Berated and verbally attacked her after she refused his sexual advances
• Criticized her for refusing to be submissive to his rants
Magdalena eventually felt forced to resign based on the hostile work environment.
Eventually, both women entered mediation with Casey and settled their lawsuits quietly. The details of their financial settlements have never been revealed.
Casey refused to comment on the allegations until 2016 when the allegations resurfaced amidst the promotion of his Oscar-nominated film Manchester By the Sea.
In an extremely long and positive profile of the actor, Variety briefly touched on Casey’s history of sexual harassment. Casey denied the allegations and said,
“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.”
Casey went on to win an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, a Critic’s Choice Award, a Golden Globe Award, and an Independent Spirit Award for his role in Manchester By the Sea.
After his Oscar win, Casey was asked once again about the allegations in an interview with The Boston Globe. He 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.”
“There’s really nothing I can do about it 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.”
After that, the allegations against Casey pretty much disappeared again.
According to a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press, nobody wanted to believe the allegations because they “liked him too much”. The member, who remained anonymous, said,
“People really do like him, no one wants him to be an abuser or anything like it.”
#MeToo and Time’s Up
In the midst of #MeToo and Time’s Up, Casey’s allegations resurfaced once more. In an interview with the Associated Press, he gave extremely mixed messages about the allegations. At one point, he said that he “didn’t agree” with the allegations and explained,
“I had never had any complaints like that made about me before in my life and it was really embarrassing and I didn’t know how to handle it and I didn’t 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.”
In the same interview, he then went on to take “responsibility” for the behavior of the crew members on set. He said,
“The cast was the crew and the crew was kind of the cast and it was an unprofessional environment and, you know, the buck had to stop with me being one of the producers and I have to accept responsibility for that and that was a mistake. And I contributed to that unprofessional environment and I tolerated that kind of behavior from other people and I wish that I hadn’t. And I regret a lot of that.”
“I really did not know what I was responsible for as the boss. I don’t even know if I thought of myself as the boss. But I behaved in a way and allowed others to behave in a way that was really unprofessional. And I’m sorry.”
Casey’s history of sexual harassment allegations has again been forgotten.
Since the allegations came out in 2010, Casey has starred in 15 movies and won 23 awards. He also has two films in post-production, another one currently filming, and one more in pre-production. Casey’s career has taken off and it shows no signs of slowing down.
Many critics of the #MeToo movement and cancel culture claim that sexual assault and rape allegations can “ruin a man’s career.” Casey seems to be doing just fine.