Casey Affleck withdraws from Oscars in wake of #metoo

Actor Casey Affleck has withdrawn from this year's 90th annual Academy Awards ceremony, where he was expected to present the award to the winner in the best actress category.

Affleck won the best actor Oscar in 2017 for his work in the film Manchester By The Sea.

Ben Affleck's brother Casey appeared to confirm he won't return in the film. Photo: AP

Ben Affleck's brother Casey appeared to confirm he won't return in the film. Photo: AP

According to Oscar tradition, the preceding year's winning actor presents the award to the current year's best actress, and the preceding year's winning actress to best actor.

Affleck's decision comes in the wake of renewed attention on past allegations of sexual harassment.

In 2010 Affleck was sued by two women, a producer and a cinematographer, who worked with him on the film I'm Still Here.

Among their allegations were groping, inappropriate comments and unwelcome advances; the lawsuits were settled out of court, but no details of the settlement were released.

In 2016 Affleck said the situation was "settled to the satisfaction of all ... I was hurt and upset, I am sure all were, but I am over it."

The issue resurfaced last year during the Oscar campaign for Manchester By The Sea.

And when Affleck won the best actor Oscar, the presenter of the award, actress Brie Larson, noticeably did not applaud, she simply handed him the statue.

When asked later why she had not applauded, Larson said the action "spoke for itself".

"I think that whatever it was that I did on stage kind of spoke for itself," Larson said. "I've said all that I need to say about that topic."

Larson had presented the Oscar to Affleck because of the same tradition: she had won the preceding year's best actress award for her work on Room, a film in which she played a victim of sexual abuse.

Sexual harassment and assault allegations against heavyweight producer Harvey Weinstein and a number of other high-profile men in Hollywood have brought the issues of sexual assault and harassment to the centre of the national conversation.

Online petitions were already calling for Affleck to withdraw of his own accord or the Oscars governing body, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, to make the decision for him.

Had neither taken action, they would have risked protests at the Academy Awards, which will be held in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 4 at the Shrine Auditorium.

This story Casey Affleck withdraws from Oscars in wake of #metoo first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.