Casey Affleck apologizes for his ‘unprofessional’ behavior, which led to lawsuits


89th Annual Academy Awards Press Room

Towards the end of 2016 and into the first months of 2017, we talked a bit about Casey Affleck. Or rather, we talked about how very few industry media outlets were talking about Casey Affleck and the two lawsuits he settled out-of-court for sexual harassing two female coworkers. That was the way a handful of outlets covered the Affleck situation: they covered the near-silence around Casey, even given the fact that he was in the midst of what would be become a successful Best Actor Oscar campaign for Manchester by the Sea. Did I mention that Casey Affleck is a white man with very powerful alliances within Hollywood? Yeah. That’s why his history of sexual harassment didn’t derail his Oscar chances. When #MeToo came about last fall, the only thing it meant was that Casey didn’t go to this year’s Oscars to present the Best Actress Oscar. That was it. That was his punishment.

So from where I sit, I tend to believe Casey could have “gotten away” with not saying anything about the lawsuits or Me Too or anything else. But he’s promoting his new film, The Old Man & The Gun, and he sat down for an in-depth interview with the Associated Press – you can read the full piece here. He was asked directly about all of it and he answered those questions. Give him a f–king cookie, I guess. Some highlights:

Why he didn’t present at this year’s Oscars: “I think it was the right thing to do just given everything that was going on in our culture at the moment. And having two incredible women go present the best actress award felt like the right thing.

On the two lawsuits in 2010: “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. I hate that. 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. 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. And that’s that.

On the Me Too movement: “Over the past couple of years, I’ve been listening a lot to this conversation, this public conversation, and learned a lot. 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. I was a boss. I was one of the producers on the set. This movie was (shot in 2008, 2009) and I was one of the producers. And it was a crazy mockumentary, (a) very unconventional movie. 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.

He’s taken his kids to women’s marches, etc: “Well I’ve taken these lessons with me that I’ve learned not just to work but to home and as dad and it informs how you parent. I have two boys so I want to be in a world where grown men model compassion and decency and also contrition when it’s called for, and I certainly tell them to own their mistakes when they make them.

How he wants to change as a producer/employer: “I think bigger picture, in this business, women have been underrepresented and underpaid and objectified and diminished and humiliated and belittled in a bazillion ways and just generally had a mountain of grief thrown at them forever. And no one was really making too much of a fuss about it, myself included, until a few women with the kind of courage and wisdom to stand up and say, “You know what? Enough is enough.” Those are the people who are kind of leading this conversation and 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. And we do that at our production company and I try to do it at home, and if I’m ever called upon by anyone to help in any way and contribute, I’d be more than happy to.

[From The Associated Press]

A few points, in no particular order:

1. He makes it sound like he was “responsible” for sexual harassment because it vaguely happened on his watch, as a producer, but that’s not why he was sued. One of the women even described him climbing into bed with her.
2. I understand that a lot of men have gotten the memo about needing to shut up and LISTEN, but I’d also like to point out that Casey is a 42-year-old man, not some young, naive kid who was so immature just a few years ago and there’s just been so much growth in just the past year.
3. “I wish I had found a way to resolve things in a different way. I hate that. 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…” Imagine being one of the one he harassed and how embarrassed she was that her boss climbed into bed with her. I guess he’s saying that he settled out-of-court because he thought it was the best way to go for his victims’ benefit even though he totally could have fought them tooth and nail.
4. Did he really learn anything? Or did he just jumble together some phrases that his publicist put together in a memo?

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45 Responses to “Casey Affleck apologizes for his ‘unprofessional’ behavior, which led to lawsuits”

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  1. Talie says:

    He has impeccable PR for someone who is not a full-fledged movie star, but maybe that’s why he can fly under the radar…he’s not popular enough to warrant anyone’s attention long enough.

    • Ashley says:

      I know right. I think it’s because of his connections with his brother and friends. I mean they ran a ruthless oscar campaign last year….i’m still mad Denzel didn’t win.

    • Millenial says:

      Yeah, Affleck clearly paid someone a lot of money to develop a PR strategy for him. It will be interesting to watch his career going forward because he was never really a big name before the Oscar and he doesn’t seem the type to want to tentpole-franchise out. I don’t suspect this scandal will impact his long-term career viability, though.

  2. Mia4s says:

    …..Uh-huh? That’s nice. Here’s half a cookie for saying that crawling into bed uninvited with a sleeping woman is “unprofessional”. You say “unprofessional”, I say “sexually abusive”. Potato, patato I guess. 🙄

    C+ I guess for acknowledging it. I’ll still never support any of his work. There are actors (a diverse selection) who haven’t sexually harassed women. They can have my money.

  3. damejudi says:

    Really only one response to these non-apology apologies:

    🤮

  4. TassieGirl says:

    He’s way hotter than Ben. But then thats not hard ;)

  5. grabbyhands says:

    So long story short -

    Here are some sympathetic noises to get you oversensitive whores off my back, because I have a movie to promote and I want to win another Oscar and be able to present without everyone freaking out.

    Besides, I can’t be sexist – I let my kids be around women.

    Still trash.

  6. kate says:

    Go away, Casey. And take Ben, Matt, Marky Mark and all the other Massholes who have infested our screens with you. You are not sorry.

  7. Lucy2 says:

    The problem was his behavior, not the fact that he was a producer when he did it. Though that did make it worse.
    He saying the right things now, but let’s see his actions in the future. I hope he did learn and is better for it, but we’ll see.

  8. Sasha says:

    I’m absolutely sick of the wordplay and slight-of-hand-esque trickery these men employ in an attempt to rewrite the narrative and divert attention away from the fact that they ARE rapists/sexual harassers. Saying “I contributed to an unprofessional environment and tolerated unprofessional behavior from others as a producer” is absolutely and sickeningly different from “I personally sexually harassed two female colleagues”. FFS. These men have not changed, they have not learned anything, they are doing everything in their power to underhandedly fight MeToo and everything it stands for. Giving these men the opportunity to use their platform to manipulate the narrative is the status quo trucking on as it always has. Disgusted.

  9. JOANA says:

    I like what is saying. I accept what its saying.We dont know what happen we know what said about news published.
    Everyone wants put all men in same bag of Harvey Weinstein.
    At least he admit and have a true conversation.
    He is not like is douchebag brother Matt Damon.

  10. Des says:

    So. Many. Words.

    … to say so little.

  11. Samantha says:

    I don’t want to be cynical, I want to be open to the idea that people are fallible and have potential for change and redemption. But Affleck’s apology only sounds good IF you don’t know what he did to those women and how his lawyer handled the Lawsuits. What happened to those 2 women was potentially quite traumatising and they were consistently called liars. Even after the settlements it was insinuated by Casey’s circle that they were liars. So “Sorry I wasn’t professional enough” gets no cookies and it’s unfortunate that some people are applauding him.

  12. Dr Mrs The Monarch says:

    It is so easy to be gracious AFTER you get the Oscar and continue to get work. I bet he would sing a different tune if he lost. The only award he deserved was “worst dressed” and it was pure sexism that prevented him from winning that!

    I feel that there should be a way for men to change and grow and repair their relationships with women. But this apology is just words. I judge people more by their actions.

  13. Chaine says:

    I love how he says he’s learned he should keep his mouth shut and listen after he just spent multiple paragraphs of text spewing out all kinds of talk about it.

  14. Giddy says:

    Sorry Casey, your expensive PR machine didn’t earn you a pass. All it did was refresh our memories about what a little pissant you are.

    Pissant: worthless or contemptible. A person of no value or consequence. One that is insignificant, used as a generalized term of abuse.

  15. Guest says:

    A person can be 42 and still be immature, naive, etc. It has nothing to do with age. Maturity comes with experience, and wisdom comes with maturity. His world may have been very, very small and is now slightly bigger. At least there’s a crack in the wall, letting a teeny bit of light through…still and all, too little, too late.

  16. Mego says:

    His actions were not “unprofessional” they were abusive which is a whole nother level from unprofessional. He’s still a long ways from being woke.

    • AnotherDayAnother says:

      This. That is totally my takeaway from his interview. He’s saying what he hopes will turn the tide and appease the masses. Does he actually think he BEHAVED badly, like on a personal level? I don’t get the sense at all that he does.

  17. Dee Kay says:

    The thing is, if he had addressed the specific circumstances that sparked the lawsuits (not in great detail, but if he had directly spoken about them), I would have respected this apology a lot more. If he had said, “Two women felt very uncomfortable when I engaged in behaviors towards them that were offensive and scary to them. I didn’t mean to harass them — it’s unfortunate in Hollywood that there’s a culture of “horsing around” or playing “practical jokes” on fellow crew members that can be frightening, terrifying to people, mostly to women — and I’ve learned a LOT about what sexual harassment is and how it hurts people. I’ve talked about with them in private, and settled out of court with them, and I still have more learning to do, but I’m very sorry that I’ve acted so badly and in a way that’s harmful, and what I’m going to do going forward is to really be an advocate on sets for professional and respectful behavior.” If he had said that, I would have thought, He’s sincere and he’s growing and I believe him.

    But what he said? I just don’t buy it. It’s smoke and mirrors. He doesn’t seem to know what he did wrong, or feel like he did *anything* wrong.

    • Dora says:

      He just wants to sell the tickets of his new movie, so he can continue his luxury life. Being a rich movie star, can someone abuse and harass women without any consequence. Sexual harassment or unwanted grabbing could land another person in jail.

  18. Natalie S says:

    What happened to the careers of those two women? I want to hear from them (I know they’re anonymous) not Casey nepotism Affleck.

    I remember being told as a kid that works attributed to anonymous artists or writers were usually done by women. We have lost so many voices and talents through history and even now here is this mediocre man and his pathetic dissembling and where are the women? #MeToo really shows how much we’ve lost from women in every industry.

    I don’t care about the Afflecks and their overrated supposed talent and I don’t care about Matt Damon. Sweep all these tired, outdated perspectives out and let’s gets some new people in.

    • Jenn says:

      They aren’t annonymous – Magdalena Gorka was a cinematographer and one of the accusers. Amanda White was the other and a producer. I just checked out her Wikipedia and see the last thing she produced was “I’m Still Here” so that’s pretty depressing.
      Gorka has a website up. She looks a little like Michelle Pfieffer.

  19. becoo says:

    When these actors say their role is to keep their mouth shut and listen, what they really mean is they plan to sit on their asterisks and do not one forking thing differently than they have been doing.

  20. Diamond Rottweiler says:

    This interview was a master class in *acting* like you’re apologizing without really apologizing.

  21. DamnPeople says:

    The man is trying to learn from what happened and move on. Did anyone see I’m Still Here? Do you remember Joaquin Phoenix and how everyone thought he was out of his mind but was really in character? It was an intense, heavily sexualized production.

    The settlement happened because everyone involved agreed to it. His behavior was no doubt absolutely gross, inappropriate and shameful but MOVE ON. Men in general are defensive, it takes forever for some of them to come around – this is no different.

    Considering this is the first time we heard about it and probably the last, let’s just move on and concentrate on the repeat offenders who obviously think they can get away with it. As for supporting other men, give me a break, just because you haven’t heard they harassed someone doesn’t mean they haven’t.

  22. Kaz says:

    It remains to be seen if he is sorry. Talk is cheap. I’m not saying that if he works hard and never engages in that gross behavior again that he should never be forgiven but it’s early days still. Lets see where he is in 5 years and then decide if he should be forgiven.

  23. LadyT says:

    I dislike everything I hear about him and this interview did nothing to change my opinion. Unfortunately I really, really like his acting and movie choices. Same for Joaquin Phoenix. I absolutely can’t stand the guy but like his acting. (This excludes I’m Still Here which I won’t see) Depp is easy to cut out— never like his acting or types of movie roles anyway.