Featured, Pop Culture, Race & Politics

Why Casey Affleck’s Win Aint A Defense Against Nate Parker’s Loss

A few months ago, widespread rumblings about Casey Affleck’s sexual allegations began to surface in my social media space. To be completely real, my very first encounter was when someone dropped a NY Mag link in my women-centric industry Google Group. Not on my Twitter timeline, not on my Facebook feed, not via Instagram scrolling. There was nary a peep via my usual “breaking news” sources.

In 2010, two separate women accused Affleck of sexual harassment while working with him on the Joaquin Phoenix mockumentary, I’m Still Here, which he directed. The allegations, brought on by Amanda White and Magdalena Gorka (the film’s producer and cinematographer), included verbal and physical harassment on set. These resulted in $2 million and $2.25 million suits, respectively.

Weeks went by and I saw Affleck being taken to task by firm, yet small, movements. Even bigger still, was the campaigning of his frontrunner status as “Best Actor.” On Sunday night, January 8th, he won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, for his portrayal in Manchester By The Sea.

Inevitably, the comparisons creeped out. Nate Parker’s name drifted amongst his naysayers and defenders, alike.

Let’s list some similarities: Both have been accused of serious sexual allegations. Both have vehemently denied them. They’re both men.

And now, some differences: Parker was acquitted; Affleck reached a settlement for the suits. Parker’s case was criminal; Affleck’s case was civil. Parker was burgeoning into the mainstream; Affleck is Hollywood royalty.

Oh, and one more thing: Affleck is WHITE WHITE WHITE MCWHITE WITH A SIDE OF WHITEMALETTES.

It can’t be denied that there are stark differences between how media and society handles White celebrity and Black celebrity transgressions in relation to their career trajectory. Privilege is oh-so-very real and I can smell its mayonnaise-odor from here. There are myriad of examples of Blacklisting celebrities, while their White counterparts get to not only continue to cook, but thrive. But, I will never-ever-in-neverland-ever be here for using that — or Affleck’s flourishing — as a defense to advocate Nate Parker’s “right” to be let off the hook.

That is not a fight I’m willing to throw hands for, as you’ll catch a pile of bullshit. Affleck’s winning-tour is not a reason for Parker to “get off,” it’s a mirror held up to the tangled web of Hollywood’s racially-misogynistic depravity. Affleck’s golden gains doesn’t mean both men should be deemed right; it only shines a glaring light as to just how wrong they both are.    

I’m also not down for the “trauma Olympics” conversation brewing amongst the reports. Trauma is trauma is trauma is trauma. Now, there are various levels to sexual assault and criminal punishments that match for a reason, just as there are for battery in comparison to murder. Rightfully so. What I will NOT stand for; though, is any defense of “well this isn’t as bad as that,” in order to defend Affleck. The traumatic effects from continued sexual harassment triggered by a man in a highly-regarded position of power (who also maintains nominal power) is nothing to scoff at. And it’s certainly not an opportunity to exploit the horrifying and incomparable traumas of rape in order to downplay its effects.

As the poet-laureate, Meek Mill, once quipped, “There’s levels to this shit.” I am able to discuss the disparities between celebrities of color and the placating of peak White privilege: in this case, a protected Hollywood legacy, such as Affleck. I am able to peep how; since that November Affleck article, there has been several more articles; a bulk of people are just choosing to ignore it. I am able to discuss that without showboating on which situation is “worse,” and able to resonate on the fact that both are heinous, gross, and reprehensible. I am able to side-eye Parker on one side, and Affleck on the other. At the same damn time!

Tonja Stidhum

Tonja Renée Stidhum is a screenwriter/director with cheeks you want to pinch... but don't (unless she wants you to). She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre.

  • Sparger

    Also, Nate’s victim is dead by suicide. If she were alive this may have gone differently for him.

    • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

      Yep, there are a huge amount of differences which is why I’m not fully about this comparison life.

  • bigheadbaby

    Realizing that I am no legal expert, but as I have seen the case presented against each man, they were accused of committing very different crimes. One was accused of rape/sexual assault, the other was accused of sexual harrasment…there is a serious difference. Both show disrespect for women, but are not equivalent by any means.

    • raul

      Yeah she kind of papered over that part in rather unconvincing fashion.

      • Question

        Yea, we kinda jumped straight to race without really comparing the two cases to determine how they’re comparable.

        • Jennifer

          That might be true, but people have been comparing them since “Manchester By the Sea” was released and the first murmurs of his case came out. No, it wasn’t the avalanche that hit Nate Parker. But remember, there were murmurs about Nate last winter with BOAN was released at Sundance. The avalanche didn’t come until late in the summer. If Casey says something stupid, there’s still time for him to eff this up.

        • L8Comer

          I thought she addressed it (but kinda discounted it) in the whole not gonna play the trauma Olympics, trauma is trauma is trauma paragraph.

      • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

        I figured it didn’t need to be expounded. They’re both different; but I’m not going to use one to downplay the other. Ever.

        • raul

          It’s not so much that as it’s an apples to oranges comparison. It’s along the lines of johnny manziel punching his girlfriend and OJ killing his wife. Yeah both are domestic violence and racial disparities exist in the world but it’s kind of tough to argue that they should recieve equal punishments.

          • L8Comer

            She acknowledged they were different and different punishments were appropriate using an example of battery versus murder. She just said she’s not okay with the “this wasn’t as bad as that” as a defense for Affleck

            • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

              That part.

    • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

      They’re not equivalent. I’m just not about that “well it least it ain’t THIS more heinous sexual crime” when it comes to ANY kind of sexual assault. They’re all horrible. They all create serious traumas (especially if committed in childhood). This is coming from someone who was “just kissed” as a child and downplayed it because he “didn’t go further.” “At least he didn’t rape me.” Nah, B. Only until therapy did I realize JUST how much it affected me (I wasn’t able to kiss someone until after I graduated college; it made me TERRIFIED of men, etc). Because of that reason and knowing other stories, I’m never one to downplay one just because it’s not as heinous as a crime than the other. Ever.

      • Raspberry04

        I’m sorry to hear that this happened to you, but I’m glad that you made it through.

  • Cheekie!

    This is actually the first time I’ve heard of Affleck’s cases. Not shocked he’s gliding by though.

    • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

      It’s reaaaaaallly being swept under the rug and I was fed up. And at this point , it’s not even because it’s not a lot out there for the actual industry to see; they’re just ignoring it and worse yet, lauding him as an awards season front runner. Nopity nope. I’m all or nothing with this sexual abuse/assault ish. Difference between me and hoteps is that I just don’t have to use “wait Parker didn’t get away with it!” As a defense.

  • Skegeeaces

    All of dis.

  • Jennifer

    “As the poet-laureate, Meek Mill, once quipped…”

    Nearly spit out my chicken soup at this.

    • HouseOfBonnets

      I mean lmao

  • Twice as good, half as much it’s the motto n*gga, tagham. We all understand this yet and still feign shock when the hammer is dropped on someone black. The Nate Parker, Kim Burrells, Vivicas (now do I have to actually explain I’m not making these offenses equal I’m just making a point, well these offenses are not equal I’m making a point) really ain’t have the melanin deficiency to be fuggin up in public yet they did and it’s quiet for em. Instead of crying for passes how about focus that energy on taking the Casey Afflecks to task. Guess that would be too much like right.

    • ShayBryson

      THIS! I don’t know why people don’t get that the proper response isn’t “why they going harder on Nate than [insert white male celebrity sexual assaulter/rapist]” the proper response is “[white male celebrity sexual assaulter/rapist] needs to be boycotted, taken to task, and/or dragged into the court house!” In the words of Riley from the boondocks “Every n*gga that go to jail ain’t Nelson Mandela,” Nate and other black celebrities rightfully taken to task for reprehensible behavior do not deserve our admiration or protection, we need to focus on rightfully taking to task the white celebrities for their reprehensible behavior even if their brethren are slow to catch up.

      • Raspberry04

        “Every n*gga that go to jail ain’t Nelson Mandela.”

        YUP.

      • No Google

        “Every n*gga that go to jail ain’t Nelson Mandela,”

        More People need to learn this.

    • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

      Exactly.

  • Question

    What I will NOT stand for; though, is any defense of “well this isn’t as bad as that,” in order to defend Affleck.

    So wait..are we now saying sexual harassment = rape? When did this happen? And is this conclusion required in order to hold both (or either) man accountable for their actions? I’m confused. [I may need to re-read]

  • Brooklyn_Bruin

    What is to be done with Nate?

    • B. Tracks

      Nothing. The tombstone has been placed over his career.

      #RestUp

    • just as a side note: birth of a nation comes out on dvd today.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        It’s been on the torrents for a minute. Can’t deal with slave movies. Even passed on legends of tomorrow

        • interesting.
          understood.

        • DM.

          Lol I watched an entire half-season of ROOTS two weeks ago (the messy remake with TI and em) on a long distance flight to Dubai.
          I had an an aisle seat, so everyone five or six seats up (mostly white folks) could see what i was watching lol. Made sure screen brightness was at max too

          Shoutout to Emirates in flight entertainment, i found the Solange album on there as well.

          • Lea Thrace

            reverse microaggressions for the win!

        • Brother Mouzone

          No slave movies for me. Never saw Amistad, 12 years, Roots, Queen, Birth of a nation, or any of the thousand other movies in that genre. ..my wife MADE me watch Django on Netflix, promising that it wasn’t like the others.

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            On the same page.

      • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

        Word? Wow I had no clue… Lol Interesting timing.

    • Janelle Doe

      Nate who?

    • Tasha Lawrence?

      Cut his dyck

    • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

      *shruglife*

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        Stolen

        • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

          LMAO it’s public domain at this point. (I also unfortunately didn’t make it up; though I wish I had)

    • miss t-lee

      What happens to a dream deferred?

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        Nat Turner will see another film.

        Nate Parker better ghost write something if he wants to atone for what he’s done. Do his part for the cause and move on.

        Even if what he did was consensual – that would have been suspect.

        *shutters like storm windows*

        It’s only fun when the homies get none. Caring is not sharing.

        • miss t-lee

          I hope you realize my question was rhetorical…lol
          I really could care less what Nate Parker does from her on out.

          As far as another Nat Turner film. I hope the next person who tackles it does the story justice.

  • When it comes to NP the only thing we can expect is a whole lot of mental gymnastics on both sides of the spectrum.This should have been left in 2016
    http://www.thecoli.com/media/santana.1756/full

  • B. Tracks
    • Lea Thrace

      considering the context of where this gif comes from, this is kinda accurate and a lil appropriate.

      • B. Tracks

        Stay dope, Lea T.

      • Raspberry04

        Where is it from?

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