Last year’s Best Actor Oscar winner Casey Affleck has withdrawn from this year’s ceremony, where traditionally, he’d have been presenting the Academy Award to the winner of the Best Actress category.
Affleck, most recently seen under a sheet in the acclaimed supernatural drama A Ghost Story, won last year for Manchester By the Sea, despite accusations of sexual harassment of female crew members, dating from a production in 2010. Two women launched lawsuits against him, alleging unwanted advances; they were settled out of court for undisclosed sums. Affleck’s lawyer denied the accusations at the time and the actor, who keeps a lower profile than his older brother Ben Affleck, has not commented on the claims since.
Affleck’s publicist confirmed that the actor would not be attending this year’s ceremony, but declined to give any further comment.
In a statement, the Academy said “We appreciate the decision to keep the focus on the show and on the great work of this year.”
Affleck’s performance last year also won him a Golden Globe and a BAFTA, despite the accusations he’d previously faced. This is in stark contrast to the atmosphere in the industry, less than a year later, as a result of the Weinstein revelations and the resulting Time’s Up campaign, which saw James Franco missing out on a nomination for The Disaster Artist, despite winning a Golden Globe, after questions were raised about his conduct towards some pupils at his acting school. He’s also denied any wrongdoing.