Replace Casey Affleck As Presenter For Best Actress Category at 90th Academy Awards
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On October 15th, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled film executive Harvey Weinstein after the release of multiple testimonies surrounding Weinstein’s history of sexual abuse and harassment. While it is an appropriate initiative on the Academy’s part, it is not enough. The Academy must replace actor Casey Affleck as a presenter for next year’s ceremony effective immediately.
There’s two reasons why they must do this. One is because of controversies perpetrated by Affleck in the past. While filming for his 2010 mockumentary I’m Still Here, Affleck was accused of multiple instances of sexual harassment, including calling women “cows,” coercing a crew member to reveal his genitalia, openly discussing his sexual encounters with other women, locking another crew member out of her bedroom, and getting into bed uninvited with one of the crew members wearing only underwear and a t-shirt. However far the allegations extend, it is very clear that Affleck has made many women uncomfortable in the work place. Imagine the awkwardness of him getting on a stage to present to five different women?
Second, if no action is taken and Affleck is allowed to present at next year’s ceremony as planned, then the Academy will be guilty for continuing to feed into America’s normalization of rape culture. Time and time again, our country has demonstrated a disregard for women’s testimonies and continue with business as usual, as if these men were not responsible for the cruelties they’ve committed.
Woody Allen allegedly molested his girlfriend’s 7-year-old daughter and married her 19-year-old adopted daughter. That didn’t stop him from winning best picture, director, or screenplay for the films Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, and Midnight In Paris.
Roman Polanski pleaded guilty to assaulting a 13-year-old girl in 1977. That didn’t stop him from winning best director for The Pianist in 2003.
Donald Trump forced himself onto women, walked in on naked underage girls in beauty pageants, and bragged on tape about how he’d “grab em’ by the pussy.” That didn’t stop him from becoming President of the United States.
Every time we allow these men to get away with these actions, we’re excusing their egregious behavior and deeming it acceptable to our families, our friends, even our own children one day.
This mentality has to stop. The talent displayed in direction, writing, or performance in a film should not dictate the decisions or consequences of real-life. Women are uncomfortable around Affleck. They are uncomfortable with neutrality. And if he is allowed on stage to present to the best actress nominees on March 4th, 2018, then women will be uncomfortable with the Academy Board of Directors.
Who should take his place? That’s entirely up to you. Sylvester Stallone didn’t win the Oscar he rightfully deserved in 2016 for playing Rocky Balboa in Creed. Maybe you could make it up to him by allowing him to present in this category? Or you could have Morgan Freeman present, as his smooth, deep voice is perfect for any occasion. Or just have Academy Award-winning actress Emma Stone present for both best actor and actress. She’s awesome enough to take up two slots anyway.
Bottom line: While a talented actor, Affleck has been the subject of much discomfort in Hollywood. Allowing him to present for best actress next year would not only be inappropriate and awkward: it would be disrespectful to the talented female nominees that he would be presenting to.
His work on Manchester By The Sea earned him his Academy Award. His multiple controversies towards women should earn him the staircase off of the stage.
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