Casey Affleck Opens Up About Sexual Misconduct Claims, #MeToo Movement and Regret
"First of all, that I was ever involved in a conflict that resulted in a lawsuit is something that I really regret. I wish I had found a way to resolve things in a different way. I hate that."
Casey Affleck got candid about the sexual misconduct allegations against him on the set of the film I'm Still Here and the #MeToo movement in an interview with the Associated Press published Thursday.
"First of all, that I was ever involved in a conflict that resulted in a lawsuit is something that I really regret. I wish I had found a way to resolve things in a different way. I hate that," he said in the interview.
He said that the set of I'm Still Here — which he acted in, directed, co-wrote and produced — was an "unprofessional environment." The actor added that he believes the environment was related to his inappropriate behavior. "I contributed to that unprofessional environment and I tolerated that kind of behavior from other people, and I wish that I hadn't. And I regret a lot of that," he said. "I really did not know what I was responsible for as the boss. I don't even know if I thought of myself as the boss. But I behaved in a way and allowed others to behave in a way that was really unprofessional. And I'm sorry."
Affleck has since kept relatively quiet regarding the topic of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements. "We all agreed to just try to put it behind us and move on with our lives."
The actor added that the movement has taught him to evaluate how he acts on set. "Over the past couple of years, I've been listening a lot to this conversation, this public conversation, and learned a lot. I kind of moved from a place of being defensive to one of a more mature point of view, trying to find my own culpability," he said. "Once I did that, I discovered there was a lot to learn. I was a boss. I was one of the producers on the set."
He also noted that he feels it's important to educate the younger generation, including his sons, who are 10 and 14. "I have two boys, so I want to be in a world where grown men model compassion and decency and also contrition when it's called for, and I certainly tell them to own their mistakes when they make them."
Affleck also discussed his decision to opt out of presenting the best actress category at the Oscars in 2018, which is traditionally done by the winner of the best actor category from the previous year. Jodie Foster and Jennifer Lawrence ultimately took on the responsibility. "I think it was the right thing to do just given everything that was going on in our culture at the moment," he said. "And having two incredible women go present the best actress award felt like the right thing."