Casey Affleck has withdrawn from presenting the best actress award at the 2018 Oscars amid continuing concern about sexual harassment allegations.
A rep for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed the withdrawal on Thursday and said, “We appreciate the decision to keep the focus on the show and on the great work of this year.”
Affleck was not immediately available for comment. A rep for the actor said he would not attend the Oscar ceremonies.
Affleck won the best actor award last year for “Manchester by the Sea.” He would have been in line to present the best actress award if the Academy had followed tradition, under which the previous year’s best actor winner would present the following year’s award for best actress. The show’s producers, Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd, had not yet disclosed who the presenter will be.
The withdrawal comes following the re-emergence of accusations of sexually abusive conduct by Affleck on the set of 2010 movie “I’m Still Here,” which he directed. The allegations were made in lawsuits filed against Affleck by producer Amanda White and director of photography Magdalena Gorka and were settled prior to the release of the film, which starred Joaquin Phoenix.
Affleck said in an interview with the Boston Globe after winning the Oscar that both sides in the case are prohibited from commenting on the matter and said, “I believe that any kind of mistreatment of anyone for any reason is unacceptable and abhorrent, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect in the workplace and anywhere else.”
He also told the newspaper, “There’s really nothing I can do about it, other than live my life the way I know I live it and to speak to what my own values are and how I try to live by them all the time.”
Affleck’s decision to forego the Oscar ceremonies comes as the anti-sexual harassment movement, embodied by the #MeToo and Times Up campaigns, shows no sign of abating. Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Louis C.K., and Charlie Rose have lost their jobs over accusations of sexual harassment and assault.
The Care2 petition started in October calling on the Academy to not allow him to present the Best Actress award had gathered nearly 20,000 signatures. The news about Affleck’s withdrawal was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.