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Casey Affleck Needs To Do More Than Pay Lip Service to #MeToo

If you've hurt someone, apologize and learn.

casey affleck apology me too

Casey Affleck, Oscar winner and alleged sexual harasser, has weighed in on the #MeToo movement in a recent podcast interview with Dax Shepard (reported via IndieWire) saying he’s been overly nervous to talk about the movement due to the allegations against him, but voicing his support. “Who would not be supportive of the #MeToo movement? That’s an idea that’s even out there? That there are some people saying we do not believe in equality and we think the workplace should be a dangerous place for certain people and not for others. That’s preposterous,” Affleck said, before going on to say that the values of the #MeToo were at the “heart of my own being” because of the way his mother raised him.

“The way that I’m thought of sometimes by certain people recently has been so antithetical to who I really am that it’s been frustrating,” Affleck said of the allegations against him. “And not being able to talk about it has been hard because I really wanted to support all of that, but I felt like the best thing to do was to just be quiet so I didn’t seem to be in opposition to something that I really wanted to champion.” He owns up to the unprofessional behavior on set as well. “It was a big mess and it’s not something I would do again. I would be way smarter, more sensible, more sensitive to it being a workplace if I were to try to do this again.”

I appreciate that Affleck took the time to say that behavior on the set was unprofessional, and I have to say it’s a nice change of pace from the usual “man gets called out and then immediately turns on feminism/the #MeToo movement and refers to them as being hysterical or just screeching SJWs” routine that we deal with regularly. But it’s still not great overall.

Affleck has not made any sort of apology here to the women who raised these allegations, as far as we know. These women allege behavior from Affleck calling women “cows” to encouraging a man to expose himself to her to him climbing into bed half-dressed with one of them. These are serious allegations. They’re not something to pay lip service to.

If Affleck really wanted to make up for these allegations, he’d donate money to charities that work with women to fight sexual abuse and violence. He’d be documented learning about #MeToo and #TimesUp. It’s wonderful that he says that he’s supportive of this movement, but he needs to learn from women too, not just announce his support. If these allegations are made, and Affleck is saying that the workplace was unsafe, then he must have realized he made a mistake.

That’s where the need for an apology comes in. He should apologize both publicly and privately, and work towards making amends through educating himself and donating to charities and working towards making workplaces safer and taking apart the culture of toxic masculinity that leads to sexual harassment. That is actually how you make up for doing harm, not going on a half-baked tour about your new film in which all women are dead.

You can’t just say you won’t do something again and then not actually try to learn from your error and grow. Affleck is taking a better path than some by not attacking the #MeToo movement, and one could argue that his decision to drop out of the 2018 Oscars where he was slated to present Best Actress was a wise move on his part. But he still has a way to go before he can leave these allegations behind. You have to work towards forgiveness, not expect it.

(via IndieWire, image: screencap)

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Kate (she/her) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions she has. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, she is now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for her favorite rare pairs.