Two incredibly talented men have been accused of sexual misconduct — and found themselves on a short list of potential Oscar nominees for Best Actor: Nate Parker for Birth of a Nation and Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea. Two brilliant men who used those highly capable minds to allegedly rob women of their sexual agency. One man’s situation was treated as a criminal investigation, the other as a civil matter. One black, one white.
One of those men was automatically barred from consideration because of the allegations. The other man, accused by two separate women, is still there, being embraced by The Academy.
Can you guess which person is black and which person is white?
“Both actors were accused of behavior toward women that was sexual in nature, legally actionable in stature and not widely discussed or contemplated when first reported,” Mashable writer Josh Dickney wrote of the differences between the media’s treatment of Parker and Affleck.
Parker has been dragged constantly for his trespasses against the poor woman who later killed herself. However, there has been practically no mention of Affleck and his crimes against not one but two women — a producer and a cinematographer — from the 2010 film I’m Still Here. These women have risked their careers in an industry where who you know can make or break your livelihood, and the cliche threat of “You’ll never work in this town again!” still truly bears weight.
Affleck’s lawyers treated the allegations as extortion attempts and helped Affleck settle with the victims out of court for $2 million each.
Magdalena Gorka and Amanda White sued separately after both interacted with Affleck on set of I’m Still Here, where White was a producer and Gorka was the director of photography. The two suits suits alleged sexual harassment, breach of contract, emotional distress, intimidation and creating a hostile work environment, among other issues on the film set. The filings can be seen here and here.
Affleck was said to have ordered assistant Anthony Langdon to flash his penis to White. She also claimed Affleck asked “Isn’t it about time you get pregnant?” after learning her age, and spoke negatively of women in general. The Daily Beast quotes Gorka saying that her work experience on I’m Still Here was “(a) near daily barrage of sexual comments, innuendo and unwelcome advances” and “the most traumatizing of her career,”
Variety did a piece on Affleck and asked a brief question regarding the alleged trespasses against Gorka and White. Affleck responded:
“People say whatever they want. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how you respond. … I guess people think if you’re well-known, it’s perfectly fine to say anything you want. I don’t know why that is. But it shouldn’t be, because everybody has families and lives.”
The 2017 Academy Award nominees will be announced January 24. We’ll see just how equal the Academy sees these two actors then. Keep in mind, this is the same Academy who gave known child rapist Roman Polanski a Best Director award, as well as nominating him six other times. The U.S. government is still attempting to extradite him from Poland, where he is being protected by the government.
So, that leaves a question for the Academy: Have times changed — or will white men be getting a pass yet again?