The past year in the entertainment industry has seen a wave of actresses come forward with sexual harassment and assault allegations against Hollywood heavyweights, from Harvey Weinstein and Dustin Hoffman to Kevin Spacey and James Franco.
One high profile figure who found himself at the centre of allegations was academy award winner Casey Affleck, sitting out of award season this year after being accused of multiple counts of sexual harassment, amid the Me Too and Time’s Up movements.
The 42-year-old actor and director spoke out this week for the first time about the accusations against him, with a female cinematographer and a producer coming forward with their ‘uncomfortable’ experiences on the set of I’m Still Here.
‘It was an unprofessional environment,’ Affleck admitted this week in an interview with Associated Press, his first since the allegations emerged. ‘The buck had to stop with me being one of the producers and I have to accept responsibility for that.’
He continued: ‘I contributed to that unprofessional environment and I tolerated that kind of behaviour from other people and I wish that I hadn’t.’
‘I behaved in a way and allowed others to behave in a way that was really unprofessional. And I’m sorry,’ he added, before going on to address the gender inequalities in Hollywood and praise the Time’s Up movement.
‘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.”‘
He concluded: ‘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 why has it taken so long for Casey Affleck to explain himself? ‘If I’m not promoting a movie, I’m not going to do any press, so that’s why you haven’t heard from me,’ he explained.
We’ll let you decide your thoughts on that.