By Maya Palit
So it’s official. Casey Affleck, accused of sexual harassment by the only two women in the film I’m Still Here, has won Best Actor at the Academy Awards for his role in Manchester by the Sea. Brie Larson, who won Best Actress last year for her portrayal of a rape victim in the movie Room, had to give him his award, and looked suitably pained at the prospect. Twitter users were quick to notice the acute pain on Larson’s face, and the irony of the fact that she had hugged every sexual assault survivor who took the stage with Lady Gaga last year, and this year, had to hug Casey Affleck.
In his acceptance speech, Affleck mentioned how excited he was to have met Denzel Washington for the first time that night. Washington, upon hearing this, looked like he wished he hadn’t come to the awards at all.
Actor Casey Affleck’s sexual harassment charges from 2010 are finally getting a little scrutiny in the media — and all because of his Oscar nomination for Manchester by the Sea. Amanda White and Magdalena Gorka, the two women he’d worked with on the mockumentary I’m Still Here, six years ago, claimed that he’d tried to come on to them and verbally abused them when he was unsuccessful. They eventually settled the lawsuits out of court later that year, but his behaviour on set, which ranged from flashing the women to actual physical molestation, hasn’t hurt his career, with television networks like CBS sidestepping the matter completely.
But thankfully, actor Constance Wu had scathing things to say about it on Twitter, commenting sarcastically on the industry’s tendency to congratulate good acting and overlook transgressions: “Men who sexually harass women [for] OSCAR!” [Because] good acting performance matters more than humanity, human integrity! [Because] poor kid [really] needs the help!” She also wrote an extended comment later, claiming that the celebration of actors with sexual harassment cases would go down well in the brave new world of Trump.
Heather Matarazzo, who acted in The Princess Diaries, took to Twitter to congratulate Wu.