Casey Affleck addresses harassment allegations for first time

Actor and director takes responsibility for ‘really unprofessional’ environment on 2010 film set

Casey Affleck in an interview with the Associated Press. Photograph: AP/YouTube

Casey Affleck in an interview with the Associated Press. Photograph: AP/YouTube


Actor and director Casey Affleck has addressed allegations of harassment for the first time, saying he contributed to an “unprofessional environment” on the film set of I’m Still Here.

The 42-year-old said he took responsibility for the “really unprofessional” atmosphere on the set of the 2010 film that led to civil lawsuits from two women who worked on the production.

During Affleck’s best actor campaign for Manchester By the Sea in 2016, the spotlight was turned back on the civil lawsuits for breach of contract filed by a cinematographer and a producer who worked on I’m Still Here. One of the women also sued for sexual harassment, and both described an uncomfortable atmosphere on the set of the unconventional mockumentary.

“It was an unprofessional environment . . . the buck had to stop with me being one of the producers and I have to accept responsibility for that,” Affleck said in an interview with Associated Press, referring to the film I’m Still Here, which he produced and directed. “I contributed to that unprofessional environment and I tolerated that kind of behaviour from other people and I wish that I hadn’t.”

He added: “I behaved in a way and allowed others to behave in a way that was really unprofessional. And I’m sorry.”

Although the lawsuits were settled out of court, Affleck’s name became associated with a long list of men who have abused power in Hollywood. While he has addressed the lawsuits, he also has not spoken publicly since the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements took hold 10 months ago.

“I’ve been listening a lot to this public conversation and learned a lot. I’ve 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,” he said.

“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,’” Affleck said.

“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.”

Of his decision to do an interview now, Affleck said: “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.”

Asked why he made the decision to step aside from presenting the Best Actress awards at the Oscars, Affleck said he “thought it was the right thing to do”.

Affleck has been working on The Old Man & The Gun, in which he plays a cop trying to track down an older bank robber, played by Robert Redford.–Guardian/AP