Casey Affleck is apologizing for his actions.
Two sexual harassment lawsuits were filed against Affleck in 2010 by two women who worked with him on I’m Still Here, which he directed and starred Joaquin Phoenix. Affleck previously denied the allegations, and settled the suits out of court for undisclosed amounts. In the settlement, the actor did not admit any guilt. He and his accusers are barred from discussing details of the case.
Affleck, who next appears in The Old Man & the Gun, admitted the “environment” on the I’m Still Here set was “unprofessional.”
“The buck had to stop with me being one of the producers, and I have to accept responsibility for that, and that was a mistake,” he continued. “And I contributed to that unprofessional environment, and I tolerated that kind of behavior from other people, and I wish that I hadn’t. And I regret a lot of that.”
Addressing the lawsuits brought against him, Affleck said he wished he’d found a way to “resolve things in a different way.”
“I had never had any complaints like that made about me before in my life, and it was really embarrassing,” he added. “I didn’t know how to handle it, and I didn’t agree with everything, the way I was being described, and the things that were said about me, but I wanted to try to make it right, so we made it right in the way that was asked at the time.”
Asked about his thoughts on the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements that combat sexual harassment in the workplace and beyond, Affleck said he’s “been listening a lot to this conversation, this public conversation, and learned a lot.”
Renewed scrutiny of the claims surfaced during the 2017 awards season, when Affleck won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in Manchester by the Sea. He bowed out of presenting the award for Best Actress in 2018 over the controversy.
“I think it was the right thing to do just given everything that was going on in our culture at the moment,” Affleck told the AP. “And having two incredible women [Jodie Foster and Jennifer Lawrence] go present the Best Actress award felt like the right thing.”
He said that he wants his sons with ex-wife Summer Phoenix, Indiana and Atticus, to learn from his past. “Well, I’ve taken these lessons with me that I’ve learned not just to work but to home and as dad, and it informs how you parent,” Affleck commented. “I have two boys, so 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 them to own their mistakes when they make them.”