Casey Affleck is speaking out about the sexual misconduct allegations against him.
Affleck was sued over his directorial debut, 2010’s I’m Still Here, by two women who worked on the mockumentary who accused him of sexual harassment and "intentional infliction of emotional distress,” eventually settling the case. It led to him keeping a low profile amid the #MeToo Movement, though he kept working. Now, he’s back in the spotlight with his second directorial project, Light of My Life, a post-apocalyptic drama about a world without women. It’s an unusual subject to tackle considering his history and Affleck discussed both with Dax Shepard on his new Armchair Expert podcast.
Affleck, 43, said that he “really wanted to support” #MeToo as it happened — “Who would not be supportive of the #MeToo movement?” — however he “felt like the best thing to do was to just be quiet so that I didn't seem to be in opposition to something that I really wanted to champion.”
He said that it was “a tough spot to be in, especially if you really do appreciate and want to be a support of the side that seems angriest, and the anger is being directed at you.”
So he “sort of decided, well, I’ll just stay quiet. Mostly — I’ve talked about it a little bit to honor that like OK this is someone else’s experience of this and it is not my experience but you have to respect that someone else had an experience and take that to heart and allow for it to be as possible as your memory of that experience.”
He said he felt like he was grouped in with the worst offenders.
“Suddenly your name is being mentioned in a group of people,” he said. “On the one hand it’s like a sweeping judgement, and on the other hand there has been a lot of talk about, ‘Can we even make these kind of distinctions between the worst cases and sort of what is perceived as the tamest examples of it?’”
Affleck continued, “I think there is some truth in that, you know, it isn’t about, ‘This isn’t so bad and that’s really horrible.’ It’s that it is systematic, it’s accepted culturally at its tamest manifestation of it and at its worst, and it all needs to be turned on its head, eradicated and not allowed for.”
He also said it is “very, very hard to talk about” because the values of the #MeToo movement “are values that are at the heart of my being — just the way I was raised. They are baked into my value system being raised by a mother who didn’t let us,” also including brother Ben Affleck, “watch The Dukes of Hazzard at 8 years old because it was sexist. The way I’ve thought of sometimes recently by some people is just antithetical to who I really am so it’s been frustrating.”
Affleck also spoke about the set of I’m Still Here — and made it clear it’s not a scenario he would repeat.
“There was a ton of partying, because that was the content of this documentary, at times mockumentary,” he said of the Joaquin Phoenix project. “We’re recording everything. It was confusing for everybody and it was deliberately so. And that’s my responsibility. The intention was to have the crew as a part of the movie. I don’t know how much they knew they were a part of the movie... It was a big mess and it’s not something I would do again. I would be way smarter, more sensible, more sensitive to it being a workplace if I were to try to do this again.”
He added, “You have to be open to people be saying, ‘No man you’re not hearing us. That was out of control to run a movie set that way. That was wrong.'”
Affleck added that he’s not sure he’ll “ever get closure” regarding the situation. While he says he often obsessively goes over things from his past in his mind — relationships and things like that— he doesn’t think it will come in this case “until you finally punch the big clock,” he said. “It’s going to just keep going. It shapes who you are. Everybody in life has gigantic challenges and even tragedies and they think they won’t get through them and they keep going and life goes on. I’ve seen people who have been dealt much worse hands.”
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