“...this cycle of easy forgiveness and celebrity-related amnesia.”
January 4, 2017 10:07 PM   Subscribe

The Glare Varies for Two Actors on Hollywood’s Awards Trail [The New York Times] “Why do the two men find themselves in much different circumstances? Perhaps people think Mr. Affleck’s performance, and the movie in which he stars, is better. Maybe it’s because, as an Oscar nominee and the brother of the box-office star Ben Affleck, Mr. Affleck has attained a privileged status in Hollywood; the power surrounding him may make people reluctant to openly criticize him. Certainly a factor is the fact that there was unsettling new information revealed about Mr. Parker’s rape case in August — that his accuser later committed suicide — while there have been no new disclosures regarding Mr. Affleck’s cases. Or maybe, say those mindful of Hollywood’s checkered racial history, it is because Mr. Affleck is white and Mr. Parker is black. ”

- Casey Affleck and Nate Parker: How Hollywood and Its Industry Press Help Perpetuate Racism and Misogyny in Film [The Mary Sue]
“2016 has been a dumpster fire. Too many cool people have died, too many incompetent people have been elected President of the United States, and there are too many men who’ve been accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment that now have films they’ve worked on campaigning for Oscar nominations. Yet those two men, Casey Affleck and Nate Parker, are not being forced to deal with their pasts in the same way. Most recently, a sexual harassment lawsuit against Casey Affleck from 2010 has gotten back into the news. Well, sort of. Back in September, Mashable asked the question, “Amid the uproar over Nate Parker, why is no one talking about Casey Affleck?” Meaning that…no one was really talking about it before that. Certainly not entertainment industry publications.”
- Casey Affleck’s Dark Secret: The Disturbing Allegations Against the Oscar Hopeful [The Daily Beast]
“The Parker parallel is an important one. Of course, Parker was accused of a different, more serious crime—raping a female college student. Parker was acquitted, while Affleck settled. Then there’s the fact that Nate Parker is a black man. Like Affleck, the actor and director had been fast-tracked for critical acclaim and stardom. Considering the fact that Parker’s career has taken a fatal hit, we have to ask why Affleck’s history continues to be hidden paragraphs deep, or swept under the rug entirely. We can’t re-try either of these cases; given the facts that we have, journalists and filmgoers can reach their own conclusions of guilt or innocence. But readers should be given this opportunity. There’s no reason why the details of White and Gorka’s suits—which are available online here and here—shouldn’t be added as a crucial caveat in fawning profiles and glowing reviews.”
- Why aren’t sexual harassment allegations derailing Casey Affleck’s Oscar chances? [Think Progress]
“White men can, to use a technical term, basically do whatever and never be held accountable for it. (You may have noticed that Donald “Grab them by the pussy” Trump, who was accused by several women of sexual misconduct, is the President-elect of the United States of America.) This is not to suggest men of color cannot also be accused of violent crimes against women and continue their careers apace, because plenty do: Bill Cosby was doing swimmingly, career-wise, until two years ago, despite the fact that multiple women went public with their allegations against him back in 2005, when Andrea Constand filed a civil suit against Cosby. R. Kelly, Kobe Byrant, Derrick Rose, alleged rapists all, and all have emerged from their respective accusations basically unscathed. But all of these men were more established in their careers than Parker was at the time allegations against them became public; one could argue that all three are more talented in their fields than Parker is in his; and it’s hard to overstate the impact of Parker’s victim’s suicide on the public’s perception of Parker and his film. And Affleck’s race is inextricably linked with the other aspects of his privilege: A famous family name, the connections that come along with it, and the opportunity to star in a movie like Manchester, exactly the kind of movie the Academy likes to honor. (More on that in a bit.)”
- Here’s What Separates Casey Affleck from Nate Parker [Buzzfeed]
“But Nate Parker wasn’t just his film’s male star: He was its auteur. Hollywood loves auteurs, yet it has a dearth of black ones. Parker was a godsend, as he wanted to tell the story of Nat Turner so much that he’d halted his acting career to make it at all costs. His face was on the poster. He was Birth of a Nation; Birth of a Nation was him. When it became essential to decry Parker, it also became essential to decry — and even boycott — his film. Affleck is the star of Manchester by the Sea, and the recipient of much of its praise, but certainly not all of it. Lonergan is the film’s lauded auteur, and co-stars Michelle Williams and Lucas Hedges are also frontrunners for acting nominations. So while it might seem easier to decry Affleck without pulling an entire film asunder, the reverse has been the case. The stakes are lower because he is not the film, and so it’s proven easier to ignore, or at least swiftly gloss over, the allegations.”
- Casey Affleck was accused of sexual harassment. Why isn't he treated like Nate Parker was? [Mic]
“There are myriad reasons to ascribe to the difference in how Affleck and Parker are being treated. Race is one potential factor. The lack of new news is another. Parker's accuser's suicide also adds an extra layer to his case. Another difference: Parker was acquitted in 1999, but Affleck settled both lawsuits in 2010. (One may have their own opinions of Parker's acquittal, but from the court's perspective, he is not guilty.) There is also a substantial legal difference between assault and harassment. It's worth noting, however, that the groping White described in her suit sounds much like what Donald Trump has been accused multiple times of doing — and that has indeed been described as assault. "Harassment" is the legal term used in the suit filings. The fact is, we will never know the truth of Parker or Affleck's cases. All we have is testimony, legal filings and the denials from both men. No court of public opinion will ever fully exonerate or convict them of their crimes. The allegations against Affleck are being treated as footnotes in a man's march to an Oscar nomination, while Parker's became a defining, front-page entertainment story. But the difference in treatment almost certainly isn't a coincidence — and it's absolutely worth talking about.”
- - Nate Parker on MetaFilter Previously.
posted by Fizz (67 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite


 
Wow that's terrible, I didn't know this and really wish I did before recommending Manchester to people.
posted by Carillon at 11:18 PM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is why I haven't, and won't, see Manchester. I just can't with these guys anymore.
posted by OolooKitty at 11:49 PM on January 4, 2017 [11 favorites]


I really like the way you put this post together, thanks.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:57 PM on January 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


1. In no way do I condone Affleck's behavior.
2. Reading the complaints in the above links, Affleck clearly acted like a miserable shit-head. He acted like a 'bro.' He acted the way I hope to god my own kids won't.
3. For all his hostile, aggressive behavior he did not rape either of the complainants.
I think that's a line that has to be acknowledged and the reason for the different reactions to these two men. (Obviously it doesn't excuse Affleck's actions.)

4. Generally, since this excellent post brings it up, how necessary is it to know so much about the 'real lives' of artists? I was once told that Leading-Actor-of-Netflix-hit-Series was a rapist of men - I can't really watch that actor anymore. Or knowing that John Lennon beat his wives/lovers. Or ... the list is as long as there are people in the arts: people are fallible and do fucked up shit - some never acknowledge their behavior, others try to learn and grow. Is that the hook, to forgive the contrite and fuck the ones like Trump? Boycott them?
posted by From Bklyn at 12:10 AM on January 5, 2017 [12 favorites]


Still wondering how I have made it to almost 50 and have yet to beat or rape a woman. Sad, but it almost makes me feel a failure as a man.

Then I remember, no, I can sleep at night and look at myself in a mirror without shame and humiliation.
posted by Samizdata at 12:18 AM on January 5, 2017 [8 favorites]


The two scenarios do not seem comparable to me. I do not condone the conduct of either person -- conduct appears to be criminal and/or tortious and/or gross.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 12:20 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


Polanski SPIT is still winning awards and Chris Brown SPIT is still making music, and many more complete scumbags have careers long after people know who they really are. I don't understand why they're not complete pariahs. We talk a lot about rape culture here and this is part of the problem. People see a famous person getting away with it and it 'normalises' their shitty behavior. I truly thought Trump was sunk when that tape came out, but in rape culture they let you do it. You can do anything.

OJ Simpson's SPIT imdb page only has two entries after 1994. A comeback was unthinkable back then. What changed?
posted by adept256 at 1:10 AM on January 5, 2017 [9 favorites]


Another bizarre twist to Nate Parker's case is that as the auteur of Birth of a Nation, he invented an ahistorical rape scene in his script and made it the motivation for Nat Turner's revolt. This caused his costar Gabrielle Union -- who did not know about Parker's rape trial until after the movie was filmed -- to speak out.

It's also worth noting that Parker's co-defendant in the same crime (and co-writer years on Birth of a Nation) was convicted at the initial trial, a verdict later vacated. Parker's defense was the silent assent of his victim, despite the fact that she pressed charges and later committed suicide.

The third thing is that Parker and Celestin (his friend and co-defendant) allegedly engaged in a campaign to harass the accuser after the trial, including having a private detective show an oversized photo of her to people all over campus and yelling sexual epithets at her in public.

The fourth is that all of this took place at Penn State, which was actively covering up Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse at the time, and that Parker and Celestin were athletes and given advice by their wrestling coach on how to fight the accusations.
posted by msalt at 1:22 AM on January 5, 2017 [39 favorites]


The two scenarios do not seem comparable to me. I do not condone the conduct of either person -- conduct appears to be criminal and/or tortious and/or gross.

Yeah, I feel like this is something the top article just sort of glosses over? I don't doubt that being Ben Affleck's white brother is helping Casey Affleck out relative to Nate Parker but ... come on. There's rape, and there's not rape.
posted by kafziel at 2:06 AM on January 5, 2017 [11 favorites]


Surely the question isn't whether Affleck and Parker are comparable on every level, but whether we should have similar levels of indignation about their behavior. By that metric, surely the very serious allegations made about Parker's professional behavior over a period of years surely warrants at least some reaction.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:54 AM on January 5, 2017


I really don't like the implicit defense of Parker in these pieces. There are times when the problem with white privilege is that POC are harmed when they shouldn't be, but there are also times when white people are allowed to get away with things they shouldn't be. Rape is one of those things: if anything, the solution is to treat all celebrity rapists equally harshly.

And, yeah, Parker almost certainly committed rape and then drove his victim to suicide. If this is the man you want to defend, count me out.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 4:02 AM on January 5, 2017 [20 favorites]


Yes, the reason is race.
posted by ccaajj aka chrispy at 4:02 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


My standard for outrage isn't rape or not rape. According to the charges, Affleck consistently sexually harassed an employee. That's going to cost him my business, and it's worth asking why it doesn't get more press.
posted by maxsparber at 4:05 AM on January 5, 2017 [16 favorites]


This is the first I've heard of the charges against Affleck. But it's also the first I've heard him described as anything but a bit player.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 4:16 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


Affleck's conduct may be not as bad as Parker's, but it's bad enough to put him over the moral event horizon as far as I'm concerned. Bad enough to compel me to take a pass on his movie.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:36 AM on January 5, 2017 [3 favorites]


The Affleck thing was new to me--which is a pity, because I really wanted to see the movie-but I hadn't heard anymore about Nate Parker's crime since Birth of a Nation came out. That was a while ago. I had already figured it had been glossed over and forgotten about in the media since there was nothing new.
posted by Kitteh at 4:43 AM on January 5, 2017


I think a far more interesting question is what the public reaction to the two movies was.

You may choose not to patronize the careers of these two men, and that's fair. But the movies they were in had a lot more people in them alongside, and it's possible people wanted to see those actors nevertheless.

And yet, the people who wanted to see Michelle Williams in Manchester By The Sea have had ample chance to do so, whereas I haven't had the chance to see Colman Domingo in Birth Of A Nation because it was gone in a cough and a spit, thanks to public shunning. Something about that seems hinky too.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:45 AM on January 5, 2017 [16 favorites]


(I haven't seen either of these movies.)

The NYT article is shallow clickbait, and its idea that Parker's press coverage (which a vanishingly small portion of the moviegoing audience bothered reading) sank Birth of a Nation, rather than the million other cultural forces aligned against it from the jump, is embarrassing.

It may well be the case that Affleck is 'scandal-proof' in a sense because of his name, it may be the case that Hollywood racism makes life vastly harder for some artists than for others, etc., etc. But we don't need to throw our intellectual standards out the fucking window every time someone pantomimes vague progressivism at us. It sounds like Affleck's a shitbird. But hopefully even a NYT popcult writer can see why his on-set behaviour (which is distressingly common, i.e. 'not necessarily the news'), might play differently in the press from 'rape accuser commits suicide after accused rapist smears her name all over campus.'

Race is always a factor. Always. Obviously. But speaking carelessly about how it factors in, handwringing instead of thinking, will only make everyone dumber.
posted by waxbanks at 4:47 AM on January 5, 2017 [13 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, that's a great point. And while Michelle Williams is a fine actress, I take every chance I get to see Colman Domingo on stage or on film.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:48 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


it's worth asking why it doesn't get more press

I go with the suspicions that not wanting to lose access to Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as interview subjects was a major factor in the lack of coverage up to now, but the Daily Beast piece says it best:

Coverage of these types of cases often seems to operate according to an invisible scale. At first, unsavory allegations are cast aside in the service of palatable profiles. We subscribe to easy narratives; reporters don’t want to irritate stars with unpleasant questions, and fans don’t want to complicate their adoration with dark details. At a certain point, there is no longer an easy way out.

I try to be a conscious consumer of art but admit to struggling with this general issue - how much does the shitty behavior of an artist affect my appreciation of their art - pretty much all my life. I get not spending money to support an artist who has either raped or harassed, and regret that I didn't know about Affleck so I could include that info in my very positive reports of Manchester as a film, and wouldn't have put it on my must-see list if I'd known ahead of time, but I do see a qualitative difference in these two cases. I found Nate Parker's fictional invention of a brutal rape as the precipitating event for Turner's rebellion deeply distasteful given the charge against him and his subsequent harassment of the victim. That made it very clear to me that I would not be seeing that movie. Will I be boycotting everything Nate Parker creates artistically for the rest of his life? I don't know, although I have made that decision for Woody Allen, whose films I find inextricably intertwined with the accusations of abuse against him. At least Parker eventually wound up showing what looked like genuine remorse.

Is Casey Affleck worth boycotting for the rest of his life? The details of the accusations are despicable, as is his "I guess people think if you’re well-known, it’s perfectly fine to say anything you want" initial response. This is a crucial moment that might help thousands of women in Hollywood avoid Affleck-style "golly how did I, a married man, get in my employee's bed in my underwear with my arm around her?" bullshit in the future, and Casey is not handling it like an adult. Fuck him if he thinks he can coast to an Oscar without addressing it publicly at all.
posted by mediareport at 4:51 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


hopefully even a NYT popcult writer can see why his on-set behaviour

It's not just "on-set behaviour," waxbanks. You really should read the complaints linked above, or the Daily Beast report, before commenting further.
posted by mediareport at 4:57 AM on January 5, 2017


I don't want to discount racism as a factor, because racism is definitely a factor in this. But I think the issue with Parker is kind of a special case. The problem with him isn't just that one allegation: there were other indications that he subscribed to a particularly toxic brand of masculinity and that his ideas about gender relations influenced his work, which he explicitly frames as activism to uplift the black community. For instance, it's been widely reported that he said at a Q and A that he would never play a gay man, because he sees himself as an activist and wants to elevate black manhood. Most of his harshest critics are queer black men and black women, both queer and otherwise. When the movie came out and seemed to depict the rape of black women as an assault on the honor of black men, that was the final straw. So in that case, it isn't an issue of judging the art and not the artist. The issue is that the artist's actions and views seem to explain problems with his work. And because Casey Affleck is not an auteur or an activist, there aren't directly analogous problems with Manchester By the Sea.

Having said that, I am not a member of Team Judge the Art, Not the Artist, so I'm not going to see Casey Affleck's movies.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:11 AM on January 5, 2017 [17 favorites]


There are a lot of instances where race is a factor in how two people with similar crimes are treated differently. But while still bad, making advances and touching someone's back is still a far, far lesser crime than raping a woman and calling in a friend to rape her too, then lying to her and harassing her into suicide. The two are not fucking comparable, and any article that leaves that out is gross as shit.
posted by corb at 5:28 AM on January 5, 2017 [15 favorites]


Nate Parker is a fucking monster, and that he gets to walk free is an obscenity. Articles asking why he's having a hard time campaigning for an Oscar while walking free miss the point by actual ducking light years.

They should both be banned to Shithead Island. But Nate Parker should be in ducking shithead island jail for the rest of his life. Let's not play with equivalences here because someone needed a think piece.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:38 AM on January 5, 2017 [11 favorites]


Like the appropriate comparison is not Casey Affleck. It's Woody Allen or Roman Polanski, and even then, neither Polanski or Allen launched a deliberate campaign to harass their accuser and drove them to suicide. Parker is in a class by himself in the modern era.

And he still gets to campaign for a fucking Oscar.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:40 AM on January 5, 2017 [17 favorites]


I don't understand why they're not complete pariahs. We talk a lot about rape culture here and this is part of the

They should be, but the Great Men get a free pass because women are seen as expendable. I won't enable bad behavior, but these two men have a lot more differences than just race: Affleck has more resources for PR and hiring people who can make things just go away. I always said if all Hollywood publicists went on strike for just one day, that entire industry would be toast...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 6:05 AM on January 5, 2017 [7 favorites]


A big part of the reason Birth of a Nation did so poorly is because black feminists did the work to let people know who Nate Parker really was, the extent of his hatefulness (his misogyny and homophobia extend long beyond his past crimes), and declined to support his work if the cost of entry was excusing his vileness. Many of those same black feminists are still getting berated, daily, by men who viewed this as a betrayal. The whole mess led to a lot of people— myself included— who had previously been excited about the film deciding to give it a miss.

What Parker did, and what he continues to do (“waaahhh youthful indiscretion, but it helped me grow as a person and discover real spirituality”), are monstrous.

However. I believe that the collective decision that Affleck’s acts of violence and assault “do not compare” to Parker’s is fundamentally misogynistic, and racist, and part of the Hollywood elite power structure protecting one of their own (for his brother’s sake, if not his own). And that is why I gave Manchester a huge miss as well, because NO.

Look, Affleck didn’t just “touch someone’s back”. He is a well-known Missing Stair who has conducted campaigns of harassment against multiple women, and if we know of more than one, then there are probably many more who have never spoken out. He was responsible for making multiple workplaces into toxic environments of harassment and degradation. He molests women for fun and does his best to hurt their careers if they object. He is a one-man effort to make women feel unwelcome in his industry. To brush this aside as a small matter is to disregard the extent of the damage he has done.

Affleck may not have hurt any single woman as terribly as Parker did. But Affleck has been conducting a de facto campaign of harassment against multiple women (I would guess at least dozens— do you think any of the female crew members on his movies escaped?) for years, unimpeded, and even encouraged (by the culture, by certain costars, by a total lack of repercussions).

Instead of deciding which one is “worse”, maybe it would be more productive for us to examine the continuity of misogyny and violence against women that they both inhabit, while also asking our media outlets why one side of this discussion got so much press, and the other so little.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:48 AM on January 5, 2017 [56 favorites]


making advances and touching someone's back is still a far, far lesser crime than raping a woman

From the Daily Beast article (CW: sexual assault and harassment):
On one occasion, she claimed that Affleck ordered a crew member to take off his pants and show White his penis—even after she vehemently objected. She claimed that Affleck repeatedly referred to women as “cows,” and recounted his sexual exploits with reckless abandon. In her complaint, White recalled Affleck asking her “Isn’t it about time you get pregnant?” once he learned her age, and suggesting that she and a male crew member reproduce.

White’s accusations go on, ranging from incredibly unprofessional behavior to actual physical intimidation. She described an instance where she was prevented from returning to her bedroom during shooting, because Affleck and Phoenix had locked themselves in her room with two women where they had sex with them (Affleck was married with two children to Phoenix’s sister, Summer, at the time—though the couple recently split). She also alleged that Affleck attempted to manipulate her into sharing a hotel room with him. When she resisted, White claimed, he grabbed her threateningly and attempted to scare her into submission. Affleck then allegedly proceeded to send White abusive text messages, calling her “profane names” for refusing to stay with him.
and
Almost immediately after beginning work on the project, the gross comments allegedly began. Gorka claimed Affleck and other members of the production team openly talked about engaging in sexual activities with her, and jokingly suggested that she have sex with the camera assistant, a good friend of Affleck’s.

On the assumption that Affleck’s behavior wouldn’t—or couldn’t—get worse, Gorka said she stuck with the project, and traveled with other crew members to New York for shooting in mid-December 2008. At the time, Gorka was the only woman actively working on the film. In lieu of paying for a hotel, she said Affleck and Phoenix decided to have the crew stay overnight at their apartment. After a long shoot, she claimed Phoenix offered to sleep in the living room and give Gorka his private bedroom.

According to Gorka’s complaint, she awoke in the middle of the night to find Affleck lying in bed next to her. She alleges that the actor was “curled up next to her in the bed wearing only his underwear and a T-shirt. He had his arm around her, was caressing her back, his face was within inches of hers and his breath reeked of alcohol.” Unaware of how long Affleck had been there or whether or not he had touched her while she slept, Gorka said she was “shocked and repulsed.” When she ordered Affleck out of bed, he allegedly responded, “Why?” to which she replied, “Because you are married and you are my boss.” Affleck then allegedly asked if she was “sure,” and when Gorka remained resolute, she claimed Affleck “left and slammed the door in anger.”
lying to her and harassing her into suicide

As the articles and a fiendish thingy point out, Affleck's harassment campaigns are far more extensive and have gotten institutional support.

Minimizing Affleck's crimes is part of the problem and is also gross as shit.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:37 AM on January 5, 2017 [18 favorites]


Generally, since this excellent post brings it up, how necessary is it to know so much about the 'real lives' of artists? I was once told that Leading-Actor-of-Netflix-hit-Series was a rapist of men - I can't really watch that actor anymore. Or knowing that John Lennon beat his wives/lovers. Or ... the list is as long as there are people in the arts: people are fallible and do fucked up shit - some never acknowledge their behavior, others try to learn and grow. Is that the hook, to forgive the contrite and fuck the ones like Trump? Boycott them?

I am beyond perplexed at this portrayal of raping a woman and driving her to suicide through a consistent campaign of harassment and bullying to be a normal human failing that "fallible" people just sometimes end up doing. I've less familiar with Affleck's case but it strikes me as pretty premeditated too. I'm a fallible person myself but I have never committed sexual violence. Do we ever use the "oh well, humans are fallible" defense when it comes to murder? I've always found that people who say things like this ("oh well, he made a mistake, why ruin his future?"), however much they may protest, tend to believe that rape and sexual assault are private matters or sometimes, just simple misunderstandings that anyone could make, rather than extremely serious, life-ruining crimes. There is not such a rush to sympathize with murderers because most people can't empathize with murderers but it seems like so many men feel this strange feeling of vague empathy for rapists. They are just fallible men, after all.
posted by armadillo1224 at 7:48 AM on January 5, 2017 [7 favorites]


The need to classify things as different kinds of objectionable without necessarily creating a hierarchical ranking.

The need for a consistent ethos for consuming work that is affiliated with people who have done things that are problematic or should be considered criminal.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:03 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


Who the fuck is minimizing what Affleck has done? People are objecting to the idea that anyone minimize what Parker has done. Those are not the same thing. It is absolutely possible to be a vile shitstain without being the vilest shitstain. Saying Parker is worse along some metric that matters to people (rapist / not rapist; imagine people caring about that!) says nothing about Affleck's own unique fingerprint of evil.

I think whoever pointed out above that the reason we all know about Parker is because a bunch of black women made damn sure the world knew about Parker has hit the nail on the head. There's been no such effort for Affleck. Part of that is that the behavior is normalized, part of it is race, and part of it is that there was no public trial *for rape* and public campus campaign.

They should both be absolute pariahs, as should anyone who enabled their behavior (See: banishment to Shithead Island.) But there was also just a Kirk Douglas Is Awesome thread on the blue, so we can't always get what we want.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:14 AM on January 5, 2017 [11 favorites]


Oh God. This has me wondering if there's any public site that catalogs public accusations, lawsuits etc against famous people. A catalog of known missing stairs, if you will. It feels like something that should exist, but probably doesn't.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:16 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


Who the fuck is minimizing what Affleck has done?

Someone who classifies what Affleck did merely as "making advances and touching someone's back."
posted by zombieflanders at 8:26 AM on January 5, 2017 [10 favorites]


While the description is certainly minimizing, the context for it was the suggestion that whatever Affleck did wasn't as bad as rape. That point would still seem to stand.

This is not to say that we should be happy that the finger pointing at the moon is inadequate.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:37 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


Welp, yeah, that would do it. Mea culpa.
I didn't see that particular gem.

ETA for clarification: I was referring to the "just touching someone's back" thing
posted by schadenfrau at 8:38 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


While the description is certainly minimizing, the context for it was the suggestion that whatever Affleck did wasn't as bad as rape. That point would still seem to stand.

Which is also part of the problem. Was Parker's crime worse than Affleck's on a personal, criminal level? Undoubtedly. But the links in the FPP are largely discussing the problem with institutional and systemic issues around sexual assault and harassment, and in that respect Affleck has been the direct and indirect cause and enabler of damage to a lot of people and their careers. I don't disagree that both of them deserve to be exiled to Shithead Island, but the problem with rape culture is that it's, well, a culture. It's not a moral failure to express as much outrage at the system as we do individual events, regardless of where they fall on a scale of actual criminality.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:02 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


It's not a moral failure to express as much outrage at the system as we do individual events, regardless of where they fall on a scale of actual criminality.

Part of the problem with thIs situation, I think, is that racism is usually framed as having a negative effect for POC rather than a positive effect for white people. Saying Affleck's criminal behavior isn't getting as much coverage as Parker's because racism winds up coding (rightly or not) as "Parker's behavior should be normalized like Affleck's" rather than "Affleck should be treated like Parker."

Affleck's behavior should be treated similarly to Parker's. But the terminology here matters: the focus should be on the white privilege that lets Affleck escape scrutiny, not that racism is why we're caring about Parker.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 9:14 AM on January 5, 2017 [7 favorites]


*Er, terminology when talking to lay audiences, I guess. Sociologists probably wouldn't draw a distinction, but I think a lot of people unconsciously do.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 9:16 AM on January 5, 2017


I got the "touching the back" from the first article, which excerpted the other longer article - I didn't see the full context of that, and would have described it differently. But still:

Casey Affleck is a skeezy scumbag and missing stair, but Parker and his friend ganged up to rape a woman and literally drove her to her death, and I feel like that is absolutely being minimized here and in the entire concept of these articles. Polanski is a much better comparison if you want to go there.

As a woman who has suffered both rape /and/ sexual harassment, I will say I am at the very least frustrated by men who feel it's much more important they call me out when I say that that particular rape is not equal to the specified harassment, than engage with the idea that it is minimizing rape to compare it on an even plane to harassment.
posted by corb at 9:18 AM on January 5, 2017 [9 favorites]


At least Parker eventually wound up showing what looked like genuine remorse.

When was that? Because as of October 2016, he was declaring his innocence against "false accusations" and saying he had nothing to apologize for. 4 years after his victim's suicide.
posted by msalt at 9:24 AM on January 5, 2017 [4 favorites]


I feel like I have read at least several clickbait articles over several months about how this story of a settled lawsuit from years ago is "not being covered" by the media. I wouldn't be shocked if Ryan Gosling's or Denzel's people were behind it.

Nate Parker's story was of much higher interest because of various factors such as: a) accuser committed suicide; b) rape is considered the most serious sexual crime; c) other defendant convicted; d) Parker went on to make a movie that was partly about rape; e) setting at Penn State; f) Parker continued to work and associate with the convicted co-defendant; g) Parker maintains his innocence. Still, I'm not even sure that I heard about Parker more than about Affleck.

If issues at the level of a settled harassment lawsuit were sufficient to end a hollywood career, we might have fewer movies and a smaller industry. Johnny Depp is accused of spousal abuse. Brad Pitt is accused of child abuse (although not very substantiated). Mel Gibson beat and threatened to kill his partner (among other things) and was convicted. Sean Penn was accused to beating Madonna. Sean Connery defended hitting women and probably did it. Are the people here who say that they will boycott Manchester going to boycott all the films of those four or five big stars I mentioned off the top of my head?

For all we know, Affleck's accusers may have exaggerated, or were extortionate. It is not as if lawsuits to extort a former employer are rare. But if he was guilty which he may be, he presumably satisfied their issues with him financially and hopefully learned from it. I personally don't think that this would be enough to affect his career for life. Actually I really don't think that films or other art should be judged by the personal morality of the artist at all.
posted by knoyers at 9:35 AM on January 5, 2017


Are the people here who say that they will boycott Manchester going to boycott all the films of those four or five big stars I mentioned off the top of my head?

Yes. I have been. Watching men cavort for millions while their victims get demonized and ostracized makes me feel ill.

But if he was guilty which he may be, he presumably satisfied their issues with him financially and hopefully learned from it.

HA HA HA HAHHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAA.

are you kidding me?
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:39 AM on January 5, 2017 [13 favorites]


If issues at the level of a settled harassment lawsuit were sufficient to end a hollywood career, we might have fewer movies and a smaller industry.

I'm sorry, are you suggesting that there aren't literally thousands of people who would leap into the void filled by Casey Affleck or Mel Gibson or Brad Pitt or anyone else in Hollywood given the slightest hint of an opportunity?
posted by Etrigan at 9:45 AM on January 5, 2017 [7 favorites]


Are the people here who say that they will boycott Manchester going to boycott all the films of those four or five big stars I mentioned off the top of my head?

Mostly. Not Sean Penn, since Madonna has actually been clear that she was never abused by him.

I am also aware of allegations concerning an incident that occurred in December, 1989, which purportedly resulted in Sean’s arrest for domestic assault and battery against me. I know those allegations to be false. While we certainly had more than one heated argument during our marriage, Sean has never struck me, ‘tied me up,’ or physically assaulted me, and any report to the contrary is completely outrageous, malicious, reckless, and false.

And Brad Pitt has had charges against him cleared.

But, yes. Mel Gibson has not made a dollar from me in a decade or more. Sean Connery is retired, so that doesn't come up. And I am steering clear of Johnny Depp films.
posted by maxsparber at 9:46 AM on January 5, 2017 [4 favorites]


We couldn't even make it 12 hours before we got to "the b*****s (probably) set him up."
posted by zombieflanders at 9:46 AM on January 5, 2017 [8 favorites]


>> Surely the question isn't whether Affleck and Parker are comparable on every level, but whether we should have similar levels of indignation about their behavior.

>> Actually I really don't think that films or other art should be judged by the personal morality of the artist at all.


The award is for best performance by a male actor in a leading role. In an ideal world, that's all we'd be worried about, or more to the point, all the Academy would be worried about -- they're the ones doing the voting. They'd focus on the work that made it to screen and filter everything else out.

So much for ideals.
posted by philip-random at 9:49 AM on January 5, 2017


Why? This happened a long time ago and since Casey Affleck settled the lawsuit, I don't think that there have been more negative stories about him. I don't even think he was charged, just a civil lawsuit. If he had been charged with sexual harassment, it is not like that would be a life sentence. Maybe he got a wakeup call and starting keeping himself in check.

There are lots of talented people out there, but Casey Affleck probably did something that has gone on without comment countless times throughout the history of the industry. If everyone who harassed anyone was out, there would not be much left over.

Roman Polanski is probably guiltier than any of these people. But Chinatown is one of the greatest movies and I'm not going to stop watching it. Caravaggio was a murderer. I'll enjoy his paintings. And if I liked Wagner, I would listen to it.

I'm not saying that Affleck was set up or falsely accused. But it's certainly possible and no one should be assumed guilty just on the basis that they were accused. I don't assume his guilt because he settled the lawsuit (although if I knew the settlement amount, that might influence my opinion). My guess would be that the truth is in between the two sides.

Although I didn't particularly like the movie, I think that Casey Affleck does deserve an Oscar for the quality of his performance. I won't disagree if he wins.
posted by knoyers at 9:51 AM on January 5, 2017


So much for ideals.

Sorry if my ideal world is one where rapists and men who enjoy abusing women suffer consequences for their actions, rather than one where art can be judged in a mysterious "objective" way that conveniently lets criminals off the hook for using their power to hurt people
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:51 AM on January 5, 2017 [12 favorites]


Casey Affleck probably did something that has gone on without comment countless times throughout the history of the industry. If everyone who harassed anyone was out, there would not be much left over.

The inevitable partner of #notallmen: #comeoneveryonedoesitcalmdown
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:53 AM on January 5, 2017 [22 favorites]


although if I knew the settlement amount, that might influence my opinion

I'd ask what the exact financial limit for "guilty of sexual assault" is, but I've done enough vomiting today.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:54 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


If everyone who harassed anyone was out, there would not be much left over.

GOOD. That would be FUCKING AWESOME. I am 100 PERCENT IN FAVOR OF THAT BEING THE CASE.
posted by Etrigan at 9:56 AM on January 5, 2017 [31 favorites]


Not saying that what he allegedly did is OK. It's not. But I don't think he should be singled out for total career damnation in context. If he paid a lot of money and stopped harassing women, that should be enough.

When I mentioned the amount, I was thinking of Michael Jackson. The size of his settlement against his molestation accuser makes me suspicious. I still like some of his music though
posted by knoyers at 9:56 AM on January 5, 2017


The inevitable partner of #notallmen: #comeoneveryonedoesitcalmdown

#okayallmenbutthatjustmakesitnormal
posted by Etrigan at 9:56 AM on January 5, 2017 [6 favorites]


If he paid a lot of money and stopped harassing women, that should be enough.

This is the worst version of "Dayenu" ever.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:57 AM on January 5, 2017 [9 favorites]


But I don't think he should be singled out for total career damnation in context.

(meme) WHAT IF I TOLD YOU

(morpheus picture)

SEXUAL HARRASSERS ARE NOT THE VICTIMS
posted by beerperson at 9:59 AM on January 5, 2017 [21 favorites]


So much for ideals.

Sorry if my ideal world is one where rapists and men who enjoy abusing women


that didn't come off as intended.
I meant to suggest that ideals die fast in the face of the reality of rape + abuse.
I failed.
all apologies.
posted by philip-random at 10:00 AM on January 5, 2017


#okayallmenbutthatjustmakesitnormal

Just because you put a hat on a butt that doesn't make it okay.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:01 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I can choose who I give my money to. I have never seen a Roman Polanski work. I've never seen a Woody Allen film. I will never see anything that Nate Parker is involved with. I will never again see anything that Casey Afflick is involved with. If it were possible to have complete knowledge and avoid every good or service that inures benefit to a sexual predator (alleged or otherwise), I would do so. Unfortunately, the number of predatory men in our society makes that about as likely as entirely avoiding capitalism. But those of us with an interest in avoiding these men have some choices. I am reading books only by women of color this year. I am making a point to avoid movies that do not have women in significant leadership roles (director, writer, etc). Somehow my life is still filled with art and scholarship and a variety of voices and perspectives.

If you want to give your time and money to men accused of violence against women, that's your prerogative. Don't tell me what to do with my time and money.

I'm not a judge and jury, I'm not taking away someone's life or liberty, I don't need proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I need the word of one woman. Because I have been that one woman and would have loved for someone to believe me the first time.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:04 AM on January 5, 2017 [17 favorites]


Mod note: A few comments removed; knoyers, this is sliding downhill fast and I need you to let it be pronto. Everyone else, likewise refresh the thread and rerail.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:20 AM on January 5, 2017


This happened a long time ago and since Casey Affleck settled the lawsuit, I don't think that there have been more negative stories about him. I don't even think he was charged, just a civil lawsuit.

What happened with Parker also "happened a long time ago" and Parker was acquitted, and there were no other negative stories about him either. And yet Manchester By The Sea is getting accolades and Birth of a Nation was gone in a blink.

Please note, I am not excusing either man's actions. Nor actions conducted by Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, etc. I am just calling attention to the "one of these things is not like the others" nature of the public reaction to the films put out by both - in Allen's, Polankski's, and Affleck's cases, there is a strong counterargument of "but they're artists and surely we can separate the art from the person", whereas in Parker's case, people just look away uneasily and don't say anything like that in his defense. If anything, my position is more "if you're gonna trash one, trash 'em all."

Full disclosure - I'm facebook friends with Colman Domingo and I saw how jazzed he was about what the film was going to be, so I have a bit of a bias.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:25 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


But all of these men were more established in their careers than Parker was at the time allegations against them became public

Ergo, not race, but length of time in career.

By which I really mean, there is generally a bunch of reasons behind who gets forgiven what and by whom. Whose oxen were gored, what good deeds balance the grotesque, what side of the political divide is one on, things like that.

Boo sucks to Trump, but Bill Clinton still can draw a crowd and Edward Kennedy still has his name on public buildings. Public opinion is not blind, but sadly, it tends to have its blind spots.

Manchester By The Sea is getting accolades and Birth of a Nation was gone in a blink.


I don't know that there's much to infer from that. I saw neither, nor wish to see either, the former because I hate depressing movies, the latter because I dislike Hollywood spreading historical untruths. And I expect 12 Years a Slave (which got quite good box office) was enough for a lot of people.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:43 AM on January 5, 2017


I don't want to discount racism as a factor, because racism is definitely a factor in this.

I passed far, far too many posts before we got to this.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 10:48 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


I used to separate the art from the artist. I explained it away and said to myself that I enjoyed what I enjoyed and art is a conversation between the piece and the audience; the creator is not part of the discussion. Now, I am simply incapable of this feat. Every time I hear John Lennon I am reminded that he hit his wife. Seeing a Woody Allen poster reminds me that he sexually abused his daughter. I don't need to watch Chinatown because there are still amazing movies out there that aren't made by rapists.

What changed? Honestly, it was being sexually assaulted, abused, and raped. The veil has been lifted. I cannot unsee it. Art is, among many things, a commodity. I'm endorsing the creator implictly when I consume it, whether I want to admit that or not. I'm endorsing the creator with my time, my attention, my money. I am saying "thank you for making this thing for me to enjoy" without acknowledging that, in many cases, the thing would not exist if the creator hadn't harmed other people, often women.

So, I don't separate the art from the artist. It's no longer academic to me. It's very real, and I refuse to give my time and attention to abusers and rapists and horrible human beings anymore. I've done enough of that in my life, and to what end? To prop them up further? No thanks.
posted by sockermom at 11:26 AM on January 5, 2017 [15 favorites]


I was once told that Leading-Actor-of-Netflix-hit-Series was a rapist of men

Bojack noooooooooo
posted by EmGeeJay at 1:51 PM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


The NYT article is shallow clickbait, and its idea that Parker's press coverage (which a vanishingly small portion of the moviegoing audience bothered reading) sank Birth of a Nation, rather than the million other cultural forces aligned against it from the jump, is embarrassing.

I think this is correct in some ways and incorrect in others. Racism is obviously a factor, but so far I've yet to see the point made about the role the Black community had itself in decrying BOAN.

Birth of a Nation is an aggressively race-focused film that came onto the stage in the middle of #OscarsSoWhite. It was billed as addressing some pretty challenging themes and events in our history that Hollywood has historically been loathe to focus on, and promised from the outset that it was not going to pull any punches about questioning White supremacy and its role in US history. Given the subject matter, it wasn't going anywhere without the support of the Black community. And initially it had it in spades. There were a lot of Black people (and non-Black people, me included) who were really excited for this film and to see this story told. Most blockbuster Hollywood dramas about slavery and race involve sad stories with put-upon Black folks who deliver inspiring speeches at the climax about the importance of persevering through hardship. But BOAN looked like it was going to center the rage that's inspired by being the target of oppression and violence for hundreds of years, and really go after the hypocrisy of a country that bills itself as the center of freedom refusing to acknowledge the reality that its success was based on the exploitation of Black and Brown bodies. It was giddying a major studio was investing millions of dollars towards a movie and marketing scheme that sacrificed White comfort in favor of challenging imagery and speaking directly to Black people. I mean, Nate Parker was meant to go on a whole promotional tour where the movie was shown at explicitly Black churches and community centers and then people asked him questions afterwards. It seemed like it was going to be this giant "Fuck you" to White supremacy and it was going to be great.

Then the news about Parker and Celestin's assault (and Parker's prior homophobic comments) was picked up by Black Twitter, and the questions started. Fox Searchlight didn't instigate this; the hubbub began in late July, early August, and the Vanity Fair and Deadline Hollywood interviews were an effort to head that off. But in these interviews he tried to avoid discussing the case, and when he did he moaned about how hard the rape case was for him, how he was exonerated, how it had been such a long time and he was so persecuted.

Black women have increasingly pushed back against the pressure to separate "women's issues" from "Black issues" and the expectations that they subsume their concerns about misogyny in favor of "uplifting the race". If a modern public figure is going to be celebrated and supported for their role in Black liberation, they're gonna need to be there for Black women, too. Since Black women are disproportionately victims of objectification, domestic violence, and sexual assault, this means being defensive and dismissive about your history of sexual assault is not good.

Then the people who'd actually seen the movie started to report back. The stories of Black women have historically been left out of popular movies about slavery, and the inexorable role of rape* in those stories minimized or mistreated. So if it turns out that Black women in your film are largely props, a rape is invented as a plot device, and the most complex female character is a plantation owner's wife--that is really not good. Many Black people had already been calling to boycott the film before it came out because of Parker's behavior; the fact that his treatment of women in the film paralleled his treatment of women in real life cemented the dude really was just a shithead.

Finally, the movie was just not good enough for anyone to be worth defending.

The excitement around BOAN was so high that I believe if Parker had demonstrated early on he'd changed he could've recovered. He could've been consistently repentant and put a spotlight on the conversation about how toxic masculinity, misogyny, and the paltry discussion of consent combine to perpetuate sexual assault. This could've been a story about how the public exposure of one man's privilege led to his search for redemption by becoming an advocate for feminism and consent. And he could've had that story--I can't understate how badly many Black people and anti-racist advocates wanted this film to succeed. After his initial self-serving, terrible interviews he gave one that seemed to indicate he might be learning something. If he'd even just kept repeating those answers over and over, he could've got by. But he went right back to being a defensive shit.

Racism meant that Parker needed the core support of the Black community in order for BOAN to succeed outside it. But Parker's misogyny sunk that support, which left him exposed to the wolves.

So with that all said, the disparate treatment of Casey Affleck and Nate Parker doesn't only raise questions about prevalence racism in the mass media. I think it also begs the question of why White people are so willing to tolerate behavior in their leading men that Black people would not. We can say it's a side effect of the "twice as good for half the credit" phenomenon . . . but it still ends with White people giving less of a shit about sexual predation and misogyny.

*A quarter of the genome of the average Black American is derived from European ancestry. Given the punishment Black men historically faced for even speaking to White woman, consider what that tells us about what Black women have endured at the hands of White men.
posted by Anonymous at 1:59 PM on January 5, 2017



Manchester By The Sea is getting accolades and Birth of a Nation was gone in a blink.

I don't know that there's much to infer from that. I saw neither, nor wish to see either, the former because I hate depressing movies, the latter because I dislike Hollywood spreading historical untruths. And I expect 12 Years a Slave (which got quite good box office) was enough for a lot of people


This...I don't know how to read this other than you think black people get one movie a decade or something?
posted by zutalors! at 3:57 PM on January 5, 2017 [4 favorites]


schroedinger, I wish I could favorite your comment about a zillion more times.

I really want to just emphasize a couple of things: one, the very real problem of the overhyped expectations for Birth and the reality that the film was a mess (disclaimer: I didn't see it, but historian friends did and were tremendously disappointed); I thought that Vinson Cunningham's take in the New Yorker was really compelling.

Two, Parker and Birth spawned tremendous and agonzing conversations within Black communities about whether to see it or not; VerySmartBrothers wrote about it more than once, as did The Root and Colorlines just to name a few.

So yes, it's been really disappointing and telling to me that I feel like there's been far less of that kind of discussion--that agony about art vs artist--around C. Affleck's movies in White pop culture circles. Or certainly not until people started drawing this parallel with Parker, when by these accounts C. Affleck has been behaving terribly toward women for years, on many film sets. That is part of the protection of Whiteness (and Having a White Famous Brother/Friend-ness) and privilege of Hollywood, and perhaps for many White consumers of this media as well who've been comfortably oblivious.
posted by TwoStride at 3:57 PM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


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