Casey Affleck sued for sexual harassment

Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:52pm EDT
 
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By Matthew Belloni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - A producer of Casey Affleck's upcoming documentary about Joaquin Phoenix has dropped a bombshell $2 million lawsuit on the filmmaker/actor, claiming she was subjected to lurid sexual harassment and denied her producing fee after she refused to spend the night in a hotel room with him.

Amanda White alleges in a lawsuit filed Friday afternoon in Los Angeles Superior Court that she was forced to endure debauched behavior during production of "I'm Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix," including "uninvited and unwelcome sexual advances in the workplace" and an impromptu shoot in a Las Vegas hotel room filled with hookers and transvestites.

White, who worked on "Good Will Hunting" with Affleck and his brother, actor/filmmaker Ben Affleck, and later collaborated with producer Chris Moore on several projects, says she agreed orally to a $50,000 fee to help produce the unconventional documentary about the attempts of actor Phoenix (Affleck's brother-in-law) to reinvent himself as a rap artist. But the offensive behavior allegedly began almost immediately.

"On one occasion, Affleck instructed a crew member to take off his pants in order to show (White) his penis, even after (White) objected," the complaint alleges. "Affleck repeatedly referred to women as 'cows'; he discussed his sexual exploits and those of other celebrities that he allegedly witnessed; and asked (White), after learning her age, 'Isn't it about time you get pregnant?'"

The complaint also says White was prevented from going to her bedroom during shooting in Costa Rica because "Affleck and Phoenix locked themselves in her bedroom with two women." According to the lawsuit, "Affleck also attempted to manipulate (White) into staying in a hotel room with him, and when she resisted, he grabbed her in a hostile manner in an effort to intimidate her into complying."

A rep for Affleck, who is married to Summer Phoenix, declined to comment on the lawsuit. Neither Joaquin Phoenix nor Magnolia Pictures, which recently picked up distribution rights to the film and plans to release it in September, is named as a defendant in the suit.

ONE OF SEVERAL

The case signals a recent Hollywood trend of sorts. Thursday, actor David Boreanaz and "Bones" producer Twentieth Television were sued for sexual harassment by a female extra on the show. That case comes on the heels of Nicollette Sheridan's $20 million assault and harassment lawsuit against ABC Studios and "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry, which ABC is vigorously defending.   Continued...

 
<p>U.S. actor Casey Affleck arrives for the opening ceremony of the 5th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival December 11, 2008. REUTERs/Jumana El Heloueh</p>