In November, Armie Hammer covered an issue of The Hollywood Reporter as part of his Oscar campaign for Call Me By Your Name. The interview was complicated. Personally, I thought Armie made some interesting points about how different “predators” are treated in Hollywood, although his half-defense of Nate Parker made him sound like a rape apologist. Still, I gave Armie some credit for being one of the few big-name white, male actors to talk sh-t about Casey Affleck in a huge interview. Here’s the relevant portion of the Hollywood Reporter interview:
The reception of Birth of a Nation also left a bad taste… just as awards season kicked into gear, a 1999 rape allegation from [Nate] Parker’s time at Penn State resurfaced. The timing of the headlines “was orchestrated for sure,” says Hammer. “There was another person in the industry, who had a competing film for the Academy Awards, who decided to release all of the phone records and information. I’ve been told who did it — by several people.” (Hammer refuses to say who he believes it was.) He thinks the incident reveals a double standard. “Nate had the stuff in his past, which is heinous and tough to get beyond. I get that,” he says. “But that was when he was 18, and now he’s in directors jail. At the same time, the guy who went and won an Academy Award has three cases of sexual assault against him.”
I ask if he is referring to Casey Affleck, who was sued in 2010 for sexual harassment by two female crewmembers on the set of I’m Still Here and who won the 2016 best actor Oscar for Manchester by the Sea. “Yeah,” he says. (Affleck, in fact, had two civil suits filed against him, both of which were settled out of court and dismissed.) “And [Parker] had one incident — which was heinous and atrocious — but his entire life is affected in the worst possible way. And the other guy won the highest award you can get as an actor. It just doesn’t make sense.”
I point out the details of the Parker trial — a claim of gang rape on a heavily intoxicated woman, followed by his accuser’s suicide — are much graver than what Affleck was accused of, which involved a pattern of demeaning and lewd language and, in one instance, drunkenly climbing into bed with a woman without her consent. “Look,” says Hammer. “I’m not saying Nate should not have been in trouble. I’m saying that they got in different levels of trouble. And that’s the disparity. It’s like there are two standards for how to deal with someone who has this kind of issue in their past, you know?”
It was not the most nuanced or woke conversation. If Armie was going to issue any clarifying statement about this portion of the interview, I thought he would come out and actually say “actually, Nate Parker is trash and I’m sorry for sounding like an apologist for a rapist.” But Armie didn’t clarify that part. He’s now offering a clarification and an apology for the Casey Affleck portion of the interview. UGH. Here’s Armie’s statement:
“I would like to sincerely apologize to Casey and his family for my recent comments about him in my THR interview. Without knowing the facts about the civil lawsuits at issue (which I now understand were settled), I misspoke. I conflated sexual harassment cases with a criminal case involving sexual assault charges. The cases in which Casey was involved were not criminal and instead involved civil claims from his 2010 movie I’m Still Here. While intending to make a social comment about double standards in general, I mistakenly compared reports of prior, public civil allegations that never proceeded to trial with a criminal case that was fully tried. I understand now that this was a poor comparison, which I deeply regret making.”
“I also didn’t mean to insinuate, nor do I believe, that Casey or anyone from his camp had anything to do with leaked information that took place during the press for Birth of a Nation. I respect Casey’s work, and I’ve learned a valuable lesson about the need to be more accurate with disseminating information, especially in this age of instantaneous, unchecked communication. While attempting to be part of the solution, I unintentionally made myself part of the problem, for which I am truly sorry.”
Part of me thinks this is hilariously shady, because even though Armie is “apologizing,” he’s really just repeating the true-facts civil lawsuits brought against Casey Affleck, almost like he’s just doing a blaring “JUST FYI CASEY AFFLECK IS STILL AN A–HOLE” only he wrapped it up in an “apology.” Does Armie deeply regret anything he said? Probably not. I do think the conspiracy theory stuff about someone bringing down Nate Parker’s Oscar campaign was… false. Nate Parker was his own worst enemy, and not everything is a tin-foil-hat conspiracy.
Photos courtesy of WENN.