Casey Affleck apologizes for tolerating 'unprofessional' on-set behavior

Jason La Veris via Getty Images

Jason La Veris via Getty Images

AFFLECK: First of all, that I was ever involved in a conflict that resulted in a lawsuit is something that I really regret. "And having two incredible women go present the Best Actress award felt like the right thing".

"I think it was the right thing to do, just given everything that was going on in our culture at the moment", Affleck recently told the Associated Press (via IndieWire).

Casey Affleck addressed the "unprofessional" behavior he says took place on the set of I'm Still Here, the Joaquin Phoenix quasi-documentary/art project which Affleck directed and co-produced.

Affleck described his on-set behavior as "unprofessional" to the AP, saying, "I kind of moved from a place of being defensive to one of a more mature point of view, trying to find my own culpability".

According to the actor, Affleck says he didn't think of himself as "the boss" while making I'm Still Here, an attitude he seemingly blames for the unclear boundaries that, as director and producer, he was ultimately responsible for setting. Instead, Jodie Foster and Jennifer Lawrence handed the trophy to Frances McDormand.

"Over the past couple of years, I've been listening a lot to this conversation, this public conversation, and learned a lot", says Affleck, crediting #MeToo with his self-reflection.

However, Affleck, who will next appear in the movie, The Oldman and The Gun, admitted the environment was "unprofessional".

He added: "I behaved in a way and allowed others to behave in a way that was really unprofessional". He was, as he admits, "the boss" and while he doesn't specifically address the uneven power dynamics that brings into play, he does take responsibility for what he calls the film's "unprofessional environment". "And once I did that I discovered there was a lot to learn", he said.

"I want to be in a world where grown men model compassion and decency and also contrition when it's called for, and I certainly tell (my sons) to own their mistakes when they make them", he said.

During Affleck's best actor campaign for Manchester By the Sea in 2016, the spotlight was turned back on the civil lawsuits for breach of contract filed by a cinematographer and a producer who worked on I'm Still Here.

Affleck seems to walk a tight line between not quite denying the claims made against him but also not admitting to them, while also insisting that he acted honorably and responsibly when it came to settling the two legal complaints, both of which asked for over two million dollars in punitive damages. Can you talk about how you have evolved and changed to create a safe working environment for people who work for you? "In this business women have been underrepresented and underpaid and objectified and diminished and humiliated and belittled in a bazillion ways and just generally had a mountain of grief thrown at them forever", he said. And no one was really making too much of a fuss about it, myself included, until a few women with the kind of courage and wisdom to stand up and say, 'You know what? "And I know just enough to know that in general I need to keep my mouth shut and listen and try to figure out what's going on and be a supporter and a follower in the little, teeny tiny ways that I can". "And they do so without complaint".

By March of 2017 he seems to have at least ditched the victimhood approach, telling The Boston Globe, "I believe that any kind of mistreatment of anyone for any reason is unacceptable and abhorrent, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect in the workplace and anywhere else".

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