Casey Affleck has withdrawn from presenting the Best Actress Award at the upcoming Oscars. He has notified the Academy he will not be attending the event, according to his publicist.It has been said that Affleck did not want to become a distraction from the focus that should be on the performances of the actresses in the category and that is why he made this proactive move.He was in a no-win situation, with all the attention surrounding the #MeToo movement. The specter of Affleck presenting would have created controversy. An Oscar’s spokeswoman confirmed that Affleck would not attend, saying:
“We appreciate the decision to keep the focus on the show and on the great work of this year.”
Affleck, who won Best Actor for his performance in “Manchester By The Sea” in 2017 was expected to present the Best Actress award this year. But attention right now isn’t on that accomplishment as much as the outcry over a settlement and non-disclosure agreements that followed allegations of inappropriate behavior towards two women who worked on I’m Still Here, the film Affleck directed that starred Joaquin Phoenix.
What are the claims against Affleck?
Affleck has been accused of sexual harassment, by two women, during the making of the mockumentary film I’m Still Here, which Affleck directed – Amanda White, the producer, and Magdalena Gorka, director of photography.It has been claimed by Ms.White that Affleck had refused to pay her remuneration because she refused to give sexual favors to Affleck, and said she endured,
“a nearly daily barrage of sexual comments, innuendo and unwelcome advances by crew members, within the presence and with the active encouragement of Affleck”.
Ms. Gorka alleged that Affleck, who was married at the time, had crawled into bed with her as she slept.The actor’s lawyers, however, argued that the allegations were baseless & plotting of a scheme to extort money from Affleck.
It has been a tradition at Oscars that the Best Actor winner presents the Best Actress trophy while the Best Actress winner presents Best Actor. Affleck’s decision alleviates a potential sore point for the Academy and also eliminates an awkward situation for the five nominated lead actresses. Affleck’s hope is to put the focus back on their performances.