'Manchester by the Sea' Director Kenneth Lonergan Defends Casey Affleck Against Sexual Harassment Claims

Claire Folger/Courtesy of Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions
Casey Affleck (left) and Kenneth Lonergan

Lonergan penned an op-ed in his alma mater's newspaper over the weekend.

Manchester by the Sea director Kenneth Lonergan penned an op-ed in his alma mater's newspaper, The Wesleyan Argus, defending his colleague Casey Affleck. 

The letter is in response to a piece written by one of the newspaper's editors, Connor Aberle, who, just days after both Lonergan and Affleck won Oscars, accused the college of being "complicit" in Affleck's "sexual misconduct" by endorsing the Manchester by the Sea helmer.

In his op-ed published Saturday, Lonergan argued that the editor's piece accused Affleck without evidence and he was responding to make clear that "an allegation is not an indictment."

"Connor Aberle’s article about myself, Casey Affleck and Wesleyan’s supposed complicity in condoning sexual misconduct — and worse — by [touting] me as a Wesleyan alumn after I won an Oscar last week is such a tangle of illogic, misinformation and flat-out slander that only the author’s presumed youth can possibly excuse his deeply offensive display of ignorance, and warped PC-fueled sense of indignation," began Lonergan. 

Affleck's lawsuit has recently resurfaced, in which two women he had worked with on the film I'm Still Here accused him of sexual harassment. The Oscar winner has always denied the allegations. 

In his op-ed, Lonergan defended Affleck and attacked the writer for assuming the actor was guilty without any verdict to back it up. 

"His [Aberle's] random use of the terms 'sexual misconduct' 'sexual harrassment' 'sexual abuse' and 'sexual violence,' as if they were legally or physically interchangeable, only indicates the reckless sloppiness of his thinking," writes the filmmaker. "He writes as if Casey Affleck were actually guilty of a crime."

Lonergan goes on to explain the details of Affleck's case, which occurred seven years ago. "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?"

He continued: "Somebody as interested in actual as opposed to merely vocalized social justice as Mr Aberle presumably is, should unwind his tangled, immoral chain of reasoning and start over at the fundamental precept that an allegation is not an indictment."

See Lonergan's full op-ed here