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Affleck steps back from Oscars after allegations

January 26, 2018

Actor Casey Affleck will not be presenting the best actress award, breaking from Oscar tradition. Following accusations of sexual misconduct, his presence would have been controversial in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Casey Affleck arrives at the Oscars in Los Angeles in 2017
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/Invision/J. Strauss

Casey Affleck's publicist has confirmed the actor will not be attending the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles on March 4, where he was expected to present the award for best actress.

According to Oscar tradition, the previous year's best actor winner is to present the Academy Award to the following year's best actress recipient, and vice versa. Affleck won best actor in 2017 for his role in "Manchester by the Sea."

Although his publicist did not give a reason for his withdrawal on Thursday, the story was initially reported on the Deadline Hollywood website, which quoted the actor as saying he "did not want to become a distraction from the focus that should be on the performances of the actresses in the category."

Read more: 100 days of #MeToo

Lawsuits concerning the actor's inappropriate behavior on the set of "I'm Still Here" in 2010 have resurfaced in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement.

At the time, Amanda White and Magdalena Gorka, the film's producer and cinematographer, sued Affleck for what they described as repeated sexual harassment. The actor has denied any wrongdoing, and the cases were settled for undisclosed sums.

@dwnews - 100 days after its launch, the #MeToo movement continues

#MeToo effect

Affleck's planned role on Oscar night was already identified as problematic months ago, when the #MeToo movement first made news in October with accusations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Read more: The Harvey Weinstein effect

Talk show host John Oliver pointed out the problem: "Yes, finally — the group that counts among its current members Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby and Mel Gibson has found the one guy who treated women badly and kicked him out," he said in reference to Weinstein on his HBO show last October. "So congratulations, Hollywood. See you at the next Oscars where — and this is true — Casey Affleck will be presenting Best Actress."

Affleck's decision to step down has come as a relief for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "We appreciate the decision to keep the focus on the show and on the great work of this year," an academy spokesperson said in a statement.

eg/cmk (AP, AFP)