Straddling the fence. Manchester by the Sea director Kenneth Lonergan is denouncing the treatment of the film’s star Casey Affleck amid the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, which support women who are victims of sexual harassment and abuse.
Lonergan spoke to Variety on Wednesday, April 4, about the Oscar winner, whom he directed in the 2016 film, and whether he was treated unfairly as Hollywood reacts to a rash of sexual misconduct claims. “I couldn’t be more all for the #MeToo movement and I couldn’t feel more strongly that he’s been treated abominably,” Lonergan said. “It’s not good for anybody.”
As previously reported, Affleck, 42, was accused of sexual harassment by two women who worked on the set of his film I’m Still Here in 2010. The actor denied the accusations, and both lawsuits were settled outside of court.
Some spoke out in the wake of Affleck’s 2017 Oscar win, saying he shouldn’t have been nominated at all. Lonergan, 55, doesn’t agree: “People really don’t know what they are talking about, I’m afraid. And I’m afraid they are doing it in the name of a very good cause.”
Lonergan has come to Affleck’s defense before. After Connor Aberle, a student from Lonergan’s alma mater, Wesleyan University, wrote an op-ed implicating the school for being complicit in Affleck’s success by promoting Lonergan, the Oscar-winning screenwriter responded, “He writes as if Casey Affleck were actually guilty of a crime … Like most civil suits, this one was settled out of court by mutual consent on undisclosed terms … In other words nothing was proved or disproved. So how does Mr. Aberle dare to write as if he knows who was telling the truth and who was not?”
Affleck spoke to the Boston Globe about the allegations following his Academy Award win in February 2017. “I believe that any kind of mistreatment of anyone for any reason is unacceptable and abhorrent, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect in the workplace and anywhere else.”
He added, “There’s really nothing I can do about it. Other than live my life the way I know to live it and to speak to what my own values are and how I try to live by them all the time.”
More recently, the Gone Baby Gone star chose not to present the Best Actress award at the 2018 Oscars, breaking the tradition of the previous year’s Best Actor winner giving out the statue. During this year’s award season, a number of actresses chose to wear black in solidarity with women who are victims of sexual abuse and harassment, while some award-winners took to the stage to speak out about the issue. A source told Deadline in January, “He was in a no-win situation, with all the attention surrounding the #MeToo movement. The specter of Affleck presenting would have created controversy.”
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!