The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has expelled Harvey Weinstein, but it’s still got quite a few predators in its ranks—one of whom they even saw fit to give an Oscar last year. Casey Affleck, who has been accused of harassing multiple women he worked with, took home the Oscar for Best Actor in in 2017—much to Brie Larson’s disdain—meaning that he would traditionally present the Best Actress award at the 2018 Academy Awards. But allowing him to do so, as many have pointed out, would be incredibly gross and insulting to the winner—and that’s what this petition is meant to address.
Receiving one of your career honors from a man who’s sexually harassed his female colleagues isn’t something we should subject any actress to. Misogynists are not welcome to give out women’s awards, and Casey Affleck has no place tarnishing what should be a happy night for another woman in film after he’s already allegedly violated the autonomy of three other female colleagues.
With that in mind, director Cameron Bossert kicked off a petition to ban Casey Affleck from the 2018 Academy Awards. “As a burgeoning film maker, I want to know that the industry I am entering respects and protects everyone, no matter their gender,” Bossert wrote. “Movies are better when made by a diverse crew – and that won’t happen if women keep getting harassed in at work. Let’s stop honoring people like Weinstein and Affleck and hold them accountable for their actions.”
While it’s true that the Academy doesn’t have to respond to outside petitions like this, and that long-lasting change will have to come from its own ranks, this is a highly visible way to put pressure on them to do the right thing. It may not result in an outright ban for Affleck, but it should at least make them reconsider inviting him to hand out the Best Actress Oscar. The Academy is deeply invested in having an audience for the Oscars, and so the threat of viewer outrage and disgust is actually an effective one.
The Academy’s duty here is obvious, especially given their statement after the expulsion of Weinstein. If Weinstein “does not merit the respect of his colleagues,” why the hell does Casey Affleck? And if the Academy’s “shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior…is over”, then why would they invite an alleged predator onto the industry’s biggest stage, to present its highest honor?
(Featured image via Shutterstock)
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