Casey Affleck will no longer present the Oscar for best actress at the 2018 Academy Awards.
A representative for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed the actor’s withdrawal on Thursday, according to Variety. Affleck won an Oscar last year for his lead performance in “Manchester by the Sea,” and it has become a tradition for the previous year’s winner to present the opposite gender’s award the following year. Affleck was not immediately available for comment, according to Variety. His replacement has not yet been announced.
Affleck was accused of sexually harassing two women on the set of his mockumentary “I’m Still Here.” A producer and cinematographer sued the actor in 2010, according to the Cut, alleging that he verbally and physically harassed them throughout production. Affleck denied the allegations, and the lawsuits were eventually settled out of court.
News of the incidents resurfaced during the 2017 awards season as Affleck became the clear front-runner for the Oscar. After his win, Affleck said to the Boston Globe about the resulting online backlash, “There’s really nothing I can do about it. Other than live my life the way I know I live it and to speak to what my own values are and how I try to live by them all the time.”
A Change.org petition started by New York-based director Cameron Bossert circulated a few months ago, calling for the academy to bar Affleck from presenting the best actress award. Bossert shared that the chief executive of the academy publicly stated that they’d take the concern into account. Bossert added: “Whatever action they take from here, the message has reached them: There is enormous work to be done to change the culture of harassment and mistreatment of women in the industry and it must be reflected in how they present themselves and honor artists in the industry.”
Brie Larson, who won the best actress award in 2016 for “Room,” presented Affleck with his Oscar and had a noticeably muted reaction. While the audience gave him a standing ovation, Larson, a vocal advocate for sexual-assault survivors, took a step back and refrained from clapping.
“I think that whatever it was that I did onstage kind of spoke for itself,” she later told Vanity Fair. “I’ve said all that I need to say about that topic.”