While important conversations about sexual misconduct continue, questions swirled about whether or not Casey Affleck, himself at the center of sexual harassment suits filed in 2010, would stay on as presenter of the Best Actress Award at this year's Academy Awards. Now, it seems Affleck has withdrawn from the role, avoiding the media firestorm that would have undoubtedly risen from it.
According to Deadline, Affleck made the decision so as not to be a "distraction" from the performers and the category itself, but it's far more likely it has to do with avoiding the mounting pressure and culture shift surrounding the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements throughout Hollywood and beyond.
Last year after his own Oscar win for his acting in Manchester By the Sea, talk about his past lawsuits (and eventual settlements) resurfaced from women who worked alongside Affleck on a film he directed.
Affleck was sued by two women for a total of $4.25 Million dollars after they both worked on the set of the film I'm Still Here. It was alleged that Affleck crawled into bed with one of them without consent, tried to physically restrain the other into staying in his hotel room in a separate occurrence, and even got another employee to expose himself to one of the women.
His departure breaks the long-held tradition of the previous year's Best Actor presenting the award for Best Actress, but it's a necessary step in attempts at keeping the Academy, and the industry at large, accountable for leading the charge against an issue that's been prevalent within and outside of the entertainment industry.