After reading an article on BuzzFeed regarding sexual misconduct in Hollywood, I wanted to share a bit of what the article addressed regarding the Casey Affleck and Nate Parker. Here’s a bit of that article and I’ll provide a link so that you can read the article in its entirety. The difference is one of the men is black and the other white!
Last week, actor Constance Wu tweeted a link to a Mashable story from September titled “Amid the Uproar Over Nate Parker, Why Is No One Talking About Casey Affleck?”
“Why aren’t we talking about this more?” Wu asked. “THINK about why….Now start talking.”
Nate Parker’s film, The Birth of a Nation, and Manchester by the Sea, starring Casey Affleck, were the toast of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Both promised to dominate Oscar season. And both male stars had a history that included allegations of sexual impropriety. Nearly a year later, Parker’s Oscar hopes have evaporated entirely — in no small part because people talked incessantly about the allegations against him. Affleck, by contrast, has emerged as the frontrunner for Best Actor, the conversations about the past allegations corralled into single paragraphs in laudatory profiles.
The reasons why are complex — but increasingly clear.
1. THE SPECIFICS OF THE ALLEGATIONS
Nate Parker was accused of rape — and while he was eventually found not guilty, his co-defendant, Jean Celestin, was convicted (the conviction was later overturned, and the state decided not to re-prosecute, as key witnesses were out of the country). Details of the criminal trial, including testimony from the alleged victim concerning her level of intoxication and her treatment by Parker after the alleged rape, are available in full on the internet. Parker admitted to having sex with the woman and inviting his friend, Celestin, to participate in the sexual act.
Affleck has not been accused of rape, although the allegations against him include sexual misconduct and harassment. In 2010, while filming I’m Still Here — starring Affleck’s then-brother-in-law Joaquin Phoenix — cinematographer Magdalena Gorka alleged that after a long night of shooting, Affleck climbed into bed with her, wrapped his arms around her, and became angry when she asked him to leave. His breath, according to the official complaint, “reeked of alcohol.” Gorka also alleged that during the shoot, Affleck and others often joked about their sexual exploits and suggested that she should have sex with one of the film’s camera assistants.
Producer Amanda White accused Affleck of sexual harassment during filming — according to her lawsuit, Affleck told another crew member to show her his penis; White also alleged that Affleck asked her to stay in his hotel room and “grabbed her” when she refused him.
The women, who were represented by the same lawyer, sued Affleck in civil court for $2 million each. Both Gorka’s and White’s complaints are available online, but the suits never went to trial. Affleck vehemently denied the claims at the time, but quickly moved to settle both lawsuits out of court. Afterward, Affleck released a statement saying that the disputes had been “resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties and the lawsuits are being dismissed,” the accuracy of which was confirmed by the lawyer for Gorka and White. It’s unclear whether money was exchanged, or how much; neither woman has spoken publicly about the cases since. (When reached, Gorka and White’s lawyer had no comment.)
There shouldn’t be such a thing as a “better” form of sexual impropriety. In today’s calculus of male dickishness, though, Affleck’s reads as bad, but not as bad as a rape allegation. It was settled out of court, while Parker’s case played out in criminal court. Affleck was never forced to testify, or to comment further on the events that transpired between him and his alleged victims.
It would’ve been one thing to ignore an alleged gang rape on a college campus, the dominant logic seems to go; it’s another (and far easier) thing to ignore what, at least on the surface, could be interpreted as drunken, dxxxx behavior.