‘Manchester By The Sea’ Star Casey Affleck Could Lose Oscar Over Sexual Harassment History

Casey Affleck’s performance in Manchester by the Sea may have earned him an Oscar nomination, but there remains the possibility that Affleck’s past may come back to haunt him. Past allegations of sexual harassment have resurfaced just in time to affect whether or not Casey will receive the nomination for his role as Lee Chandler in Manchester by the Sea with speculation arising that the actor’s nomination may be withdrawn, even before he’s been added to an official ballot. Affleck may lose out on his chance to receive the Best Actor nomination, regardless of his acting talents.

Has Manchester By The Sea Been Tarnished By Casey Affleck’s Past?

As Casey Affleck comes up as a possible Best Actor nomination in the Academy Awards, Refinery 29 reports that past sexual harassment troubles may interfere with the nomination. In 2010, Amanda White (Good Will Hunting, miscellaneous crew) and Magdalena Gorka (I’m Still Here, cinematographer) filed separate lawsuits against Affleck, alleging that the actor subjected the women to sexual harassment, breach of contract, and emotional distress.

The incidents occurred on the set of I’m Still Here, where White also served as a producer and Casey was the film’s director.

Affleck was accused of creating a hostile work environment through the sexual harassment of White and Gorka. Examples cited in court documents included Casey compelling a male worker to flash his penis to Ms. White and speaking of women in a derogatory manner. At one point, Affleck asked White why she hadn’t yet had children, referring to her age.

Ms. Gorka described working on the set of I’m Still Here as a “near daily barrage of sexual comments, innuendo and unwelcome advances,” making the experience the most traumatizing of my career.”

The lawsuit also alleged that Casey Affleck forced himself on White and Gorka in separate incidents and, when his advances were rejected, he withheld payment and film credits.

Casey Affleck Denies Sexual Harassment History, As His Past Resurfaces For Manchester By The Sea

Casey recently responded to the allegations, upon the success of Manchester by the Sea, indicating that the sexual harassment charges were fabrications, according to Slate.

“People say whatever they want,” Affleck said. “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.”

While Mr. Affleck publicly denied the allegations made in the lawsuit, he settled out of court with both women, through the use of a mediator.

The Academy Awards has a history of turning down nominations, based on an actor’s past actions or words. Even those deeds committed in the film professional’s personal life may compel the Academy Awards panel to withdraw an actor or filmmaker from consideration, as was the case with Nate Parker and Birth of a Nation. It’s still conjecture at this point, but it seems unlikely that Affleck would be permitted to receive a nomination with a history of sexual harassment and little justice for the victims of his behavior.

The Academy Awards have become almost as cutthroat as political campaigns with smear tactics employed to slant the nominations, so it’s not surprising that Affleck’s past has come back to haunt him. Even if Casey does receive the Oscar nomination for Manchester by the Sea, his past may color the opinions of those selecting the winner. After all, we’re seeing greater transparency in Hollywood and the public will be watching to see if Casey Affleck is to be rewarded by a system that has all but forgotten about his victims, Amanda White and Magdalena Gorka.

[Featured Image by Robin Marchant/Getty Images]