Casey Affleck addressed the #MeToo movement in Hollywood and the backlash he faced after his 2017 Oscar win for longstanding harassment accusations for the first time ahead of the release of his latest film, “The Old Man and the Gun.”
“First of all, that I was ever involved in a conflict that resulted in a lawsuit is something that I really regret. I wish I had found a way to resolve things in a different way,” Affleck told the Associated Press.
“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 they’ve respected me and my privacy,” he added.
In 2010, Affleck settled two harassment lawsuits related to his conduct on the set of “I’m Still Here,” which he directed, co-wrote and starred in with Joaquin Phoenix. Cinematographer Magdalena Gorka and producer Amanda White accused Affleck of making sexual advances and berating them when he was rebuffed. Seven years later, the accusations resurfaced when Affleck won a Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Academy Award for his lead performance in “Manchester By The Sea.”
In the months following his Affleck’s win, the #MeToo movement arrived, and with it an industry-wide examination of sexual harassment in entertainment.
Affleck said that he’s been listening to the #MeToo movement and that it’s made him rethink how he handled himself and production on “I’m Still Here.”
“I kind of moved from a place of being defensive to one of a more mature point of view, trying to find my own culpability. And once I did that I discovered there was a lot to learn,” he said.
“…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.”
Affleck also started his own production banner, Sea Change Media, though he says it’s being run by development exec Whitaker Lader, whom he says is “way ahead of the curve on all of these issues.”
“No one was really making too much of a fuss about [harassment], myself included, until a few women with the kind of courage and wisdom to stand up,” he said.
“Those are the people who … should be leading the conversation. And I know just enough to know that in general I need to keep my mouth shut and listen and try to figure out what’s going on and be a supporter and a follower in the little, teeny tiny ways that I can.”
“The Old Man and the Gun” will be released on Sept. 28.