“I’m Still Here,” Casey Affleck's documentary about actor-turned-rapper Joaquin Phoenix, may have arrived in theaters with a giant thud, but the sexual harassment lawsuits leveled against Affleck ended in a hush.
Affleck has quietly settled with the producer and camerawoman who accused him of "uninvited and unwelcome sexual advances in the workplace" during the shooting of the film.
"The disputes between Flemmy Productions, LLC and Casey Affleck with Amanda White and Magdalena Gorka in connection with the film 'I'm Still Here' have been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties,” said Affleck’s spokesman in a statement, “and the lawsuits are being dismissed."
"The statement that they are releasing is accurate," White and Gorka’s lawyer Brian Procel of Miller Barondess told TheWrap Tuesday. Affleck's usually pugnacious lawyer Marty Singer also confirmed the settlement to TheWrap.
No one would give details on what White and Gorka received or gave up, but TheWrap has learned that lawyers came to an agreement in late August over the producer’s disputed credit and fees for the film.
Besides the harassment charges, White claimed in her $2 million suit that she was owed $50,000 from her extensive work on the film. She claimed that she and Affleck had a verbal agreement that he did not honor. “This was always about Amanda White’s fees and credit,” an individual close to case told TheWrap, “and now that has been resolved.”
White, the individual said, would be paid a fee close to the $50,000 she said she was owed.
“The sexual harassment issue was never the main issue and was gotten out of the way fairly early in the talks,” another person with knowledge of the situation said.
White, who worked with producer Chris Moore and both Casey and Ben Affleck on “Good Will Hunting” is clearly credited as a producer along with Phoenix on the film.
On July 30, a week after White filed her suit alleging sexual harassment and long-standing grievances over pay, Gorka filed her own $2.25 million suit. In her filing, Gorka claimed that she was “berated and verbally attacked” by Affleck after she declined his sexual advances.
While no details are available about any financial settlement Gorka may have received, she is cited as the primary cinematographer in the credits of “I’m Still Here."
The settlement wasn’t reached without acrimony. On July 28, lawyer Singer filed an arbitration countermotion on behalf of Affleck against White claiming “unwarranted demands” and attempts “through her lawyer-friend to June of 2010 to interfere with the release of the documentary.”
The filing by Singer, who told TheWrap that White and Gorka’s lawsuits were “absolute lies,” asked that White not only come to binding arbitration in Superior Court but also pay $18,825 of his attorney’s fees and costs.
Even with the legal action concluded, “I’m Still Here” isn’t a movie White, Gorka or Affleck will likely mention fondly in their film careers.
Despite all the media attention it received, the film -- which follows the bloated, neurotic and seemingly drug addled Phoenix through trying to quit acting for an unsuccessful career in hip hop -- went nowhere fast. Affleck is married to Phoenix's sister Rain.
"I'm Still Here" played at the Venice Film Fest, where Phoniex made an appearence, and the Toronto Film Festival where neither Affleck nor Phoniex showed up. But released in 19 theaters on Sept. 10, the documentary -- or mockumentary, or visa versa -- made only $97,000 at the box office. It goes into a wider release on Sept 17, but up against the likes of brother Ben’s much praised Boston heist flick “The Town,” it isn’t expected to gain much traction.
The story was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.