In a November interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Armie Hammer spoke out against Casey Affleck and the sexual harassment allegations made against the 2017 Best Actor Oscar winner in 2010 by two female crew members, Amanda White and Magdalena Gorka, on the I'm Still Here set. It's a bold move by the Call Me By Your Name star — and one that isn't going unnoticed by the people applauding him on Twitter. The conversation surrounding Affleck came up while Hammer discussed the rise and fall of Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation, in which he starred as Samuel Turner.
"Nate had the stuff in his past, which is heinous and tough to get beyond. I get that," Hammer said. "But that was when he was 18, and now he's in directors jail. At the same time, the guy who went and won an Academy Award has three cases of sexual assault against him."
Hammer confirmed to THR that he was referring to Affleck, who was sued by two women, White and Gorka. According to their claims at the time, White alleged Affleck verbally and physically harassed her in the workplace, whereas Gorga accused the Manchester by the Sea star of allegedly climbing into her bed without her permission and then allegedly caressing her back.
Affleck has denied both White and Gorka's claims. In 2010, a lawyer for Affleck and his production company, Flemmy Prods., released a statement to THR (via People) denying the allegations against him and other crew, according to Variety. "The allegations brought upon our clients are preposterous and without merit," the statement read in part. In 2010, both lawsuits were settled out of court for undisclosed amounts.
What seems to anger Hammer is how Parker was punished for an alleged past incident, but Affleck wasn't — and, in turn, ended up walking home with an Oscar. It's not that he thinks Parker shouldn't have faced consequences, just that he thinks Affleck should have, as well. "And [Parker] had one incident — which was heinous and atrocious — but his entire life is affected in the worst possible way. And the other guy won the highest award you can get as an actor," Hammer said. "It just doesn't make sense."
In 1999, Parker was accused of rape at 19 years old, alongside his roommate and Birth of a Nation co-writer, Jean Celestin, while attending Penn State University. They both faced rape charges after an 18-year-old woman alleged she was unconscious and never consented to sex with either man. Parker was acquitted in 2001 and Celestin was found guilty of sexual assault rather than rape, but his conviction was overturned after his accuser chose not to testify again for 2005 retrial. The woman accuser committed suicide in 2012.
After Birth of a Nation found success at Sundance 2016, Parker's past allegations came out, which led to the film battling much controversy. Many questioned whether or not they should support a movie and its writer, who had been accused of rape. Unlike Affleck's film, it received zero Oscar nominations.
In August 2016, Parker spoke to Variety about the rape accusations. "Seventeen years ago, I experienced a very painful moment in my life. It resulted in it being litigated. I was cleared of it. That’s that." He continued, "Seventeen years later, I’m a filmmaker. I have a family. I have five beautiful daughters. I have a lovely wife. I get it. The reality is — I can’t relive 17 years ago. All I can do is be the best man I can be now."
After THR pointed out the difference between Affleck and Parker's allegations to Hammer (namely, Parker being accused of rape while Affleck was accused of physical and verbal abuse and sexual harassment), he said, "Look, I'm not saying Nate should not have been in trouble. I'm saying that they got in different levels of trouble. And that's the disparity. It's like there are two standards for how to deal with someone who has this kind of issue in their past, you know?"
Believe it or not, but it seems that Hammer is the first male actor to speak out about the allegations against Affleck, which speaks volumes. The fact that he is actually choosing to actually say Affleck's name is rare enough, and his clarity in how he speaks about the situation is how something like this should be talked about.
But while Hammer may be the first man to speak out about Affleck, some women in Hollywood haven't shied from doing so. Brie Larson, who presented Affleck with his award, refused to clap for him after he won the Oscar. Regarding that, Larson told Vanity Fair in March, "I think that whatever it was that I did onstage kind of spoke for itself. I’ve said all that I need to say about that topic." When he was nominated, Fresh Off the Boat star Constance Wu was furious over Affleck's recognition. She tweeted a slew of tweets, including, "Men who sexually harass women 4 OSCAR! Bc good acting performance matters more than humanity,human integrity! Bc poor kid rly needs the help!"
In a 2016 interview with Variety, Affleck commented on the claims. Part of his statement read, "I guess people think if you’re well-known, it’s perfectly fine to say anything you want. I don’t know why that is. But it shouldn’t be, because everybody has families and lives." After he won Best Actor in February, The Boston Globe asked him about the backlash he received over his win. In addition to saying both sides of the case aren't allowed to comment on the matter, he said, "I believe that any kind of mistreatment of anyone for any reason is unacceptable and abhorrent, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect in the workplace and anywhere else."
Hammer's interview comes at a time when sexual assault and harassment claims are flooding out of Hollywood. "It's been permissible for too long for people in positions of power to abuse, and for the powerless to be expected to just take it," Hammer said about the recent news in the entertainment world.
The fact that Hammer refuses to tip-toe around a situation that he finds fault with should be applauded. His bluntness is to be admired. Rather than staying silent and acting like these allegations against Affleck don't exist, he's choosing to address them directly.
Like the entertainment industry seems to be doing as a whole currently, Hammer also isn't going to sweep sexual misconduct allegations underneath the carpet. He is going to talk about them openly and honestly and point out what's wrong with the system's way of handling them.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.