Oscar-winning actor Casey Affleck bows out of presenting the Best Actress award at this year's ceremony in light of his sexual harassment allegations.
It is tradition for the previous year's Best Actor winner to present the Best Actress award (and vice versa), but sources tell Deadline that Affleck will not be on the podium for this year's Academy Awards to avoid potential controversy. Affleck won the prestigious award last year for his performance in the critically acclaimed film Manchester by the Sea.
Sources say the 42-year-old actor decided to withdraw from his ceremony duties for fear of taking the attention away from the winners and nominees of the Best Actress award.
"I've heard that Affleck did not want to become a distraction from the focus that should be on the performances of the actresses in the category and that is why he made the proactive move," Mike Fleming Jr. of Deadline writes. "He was in a no-win situation, with all the attention surrounding the #MeToo movement."
The controversy surrounding the Oscar winner stem from 2010, when two women who worked with Affleck on his film I'm Still Here filed sexual harassment complaints against him. The lawsuit specified multiple incidents of Affleck's sexual misconduct during film production such as getting into bed with one of the women without her consent, and pressuring and grabbing the arm of the other in a violent attempt to get her to stay in his hotel room.
Both claims were settled out of the court in 2010. The amount was not disclosed.
Affleck denies all allegations made against him.
However, even his Best Actor win in 2017 was met with plenty of criticism from journalists to actresses. Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson presented the award to him during the 2017 ceremony and many noticed the actress' refusal to clap for the actor, a silent demonstration of her disapproval.
One year later and the exposure of alleged sexual predator Harvey Weinstein led to the creation of #MeToo and the Time's Up movement, both aimed to support victims of sexual harassment and inequality in the workplace. With Hollywood's current climate, Affleck presenting the biggest women's award of the evening could create considerable backlash to the actor and the Academy.
A spokesperson for the Academy confirms that Affleck will not be attending.
"We appreciate the decision to keep the focus on the show and on the great work of this year," the representative says.