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Breaking from tradition and bowing to the moment, Casey Affleck will not be attending this year’s Oscars, ending months of speculation over whether the Academy Award-winning actor would be a disruptive presence at the ceremony during a season dominated and defined by #MeToo.
Mr. Affleck won the Oscar last year for his performance in “Manchester by the Sea,” and by academy tradition, the best actress is handed her statuette by the previous year’s best actor winner.
But following an extraordinary few months of revelations of widespread sexual harassment, and a concerted effort by powerful Hollywood women to rebalance the scales of power to end discrimination and abuse, many felt it would be inappropriate for Mr. Affleck to attend the ceremony.
Two women sued him for sexual harassment during the production of the 2010 film “I’m Still Here,” which Mr. Affleck directed and which starred Joaquin Phoenix. Mr. Affleck denied any wrongdoing but settled with both women. Although the allegations continued to hang over him, they were not enough to derail his Oscar campaign.
In an interview with The Times in November 2016, he addressed the accusations, the lawsuit and whether he felt responsibility. “It was settled to the satisfaction of all. I was hurt and upset — I am sure all were — but I am over it,” he replied by email at the time. “It was an unfortunate situation — mostly for the innocent bystanders of the families of those involved.”
In the current climate, Mr. Affleck decided his presence at the Academy Awards would be untenable, according to Deadline Hollywood, which first broke news of his plans on Thursday. He felt that the focus of the night should be on the women up for best actress and their performances, Deadline reported, and not on him.
A representative for Mr. Affleck confirmed that he would not be attending and said the actor would not be making a statement. The academy also confirmed that Mr. Affleck had contacted it to say he would not be there.
“We appreciate the decision to keep the focus on the show and on the great work of this year,” an academy spokeswoman said by email.