While it is a tradition at the Academy Awards for the best actor winner from the previous year to present the best actress award, and vice versa, sources told Deadline that the actor made his choice because he did not want to distract from the Time’s Up and #MeToo Movements: “He was in a no-win situation, with all the attention surrounding the #MeToo movement. The specter of Affleck presenting would have created controversy.”
As previously reported, Affleck, who won best actor for Manchester by the Sea in 2017, was accused of sexual harassment in 2008 and 2009 by two women working on the indie film I’m Still Here. According to Time, one of the woman alleged that Affleck crawled into bed with her while she was asleep. The other woman claimed that the actor pressured her to stay in the hotel room and “violently grabbed [her] arm in an effort to intimidate her into staying” when she refused.
The alleged victims filed lawsuits against him, and both suits, one for $2 million and one for $2.25 million, were settled out of court for undisclosed amounts in 2010. That same year, Affleck vehemently denied the allegations, calling them “extortion,” according to a publicly filed court document. Affleck addressed the allegations and backlash surrounding his Oscar win in an interview with the Boston Globe 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 said at the time. “There’s really nothing I can do about it. Other than live my life the way I know I live it and to speak to what my own values are and how I try to live by them all the time.”
Earlier this month, some of Hollywood’s leading ladies — including Reese Witherspoon, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Aniston and Kerry Washington — launched Time’s Up, an initiative that aims to raise money for a legal defense fund to provide support to those who have experienced sexual harassment, assault or abuse in the workplace. The initiative was announced on New Year’s Day, and more than 300 women in entertainment are involved.
Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the 2018 Oscars air on ABC on Sunday, March 4, at 8 p.m. ET.
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