Joaquin Phoenix's Problematic Past with the #MeToo Movement

Home / Stars / Joaquin Phoenix's Problematic Past with the #MeToo Movement

By TheBlast Staff on February 5, 2020 at 8:45 AM EST

Gettyimages | Kevin Winter

Joaquin Phoenix is in the spotlight again after his big wins at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs. At both prestigious award shows he won Best Actor for his performance in Joker.

Phoenix is also making headlines, and getting lots of praise, for criticizing the lack of diversity in the BAFTA nominations during his acceptance speech.

The renewed spotlight on this talented and eccentric actor has led some to speak out, saying that Phoenix is yet another man in Hollywood with a problematic past.

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Gettyimages | Frazer Harrison

During the late 2000s, Phoenix and Casey Affleck worked together on a mockumentary about Phoenix supposedly quitting Hollywood to be a rapper called I'm Still Here. Several years later, disturbing allegations about things that happened on the set emerged.

There were only two women in the entire crew for the movie, Magdalena Gorka and Amanda White. Both of these women filed lawsuits against Casey Affleck, accusing him of sexually assaulting them on the set of I’m Still Here and creating a hostile work environment.

The stories they told were horrifying. They described being continually harassed, propositioned, and emotionally abused by Affleck. They also described being attacked by Affleck behind locked doors.

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Gettyimages | Patrick McMullan

One of the horrifying incidents Amanda White recounted involved Joaquin Phoenix. She said that while they were shooting in Costa Rica Phoenix and Affleck locked themselves in her room with two other women and told her she wasn’t allowed to come in. No allegations have been made about what happened inside that locked room.

White and Gorka did not make any allegations of sexual assault against Phoenix or bring suit against him. But their stories of the abuse they suffered on set make it clear that Phoenix was complicit in Affleck’s behavior.

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Phoenix’s involvement in the sexual harassment and assault on the set of I'm Still Here wasn’t a big story, even at the time. Media outlets mentioned his involvement, but it was a footnote in the story of the lawsuit and Affleck’s wrongdoings. And Phoenix had very little to say about the topic at the time. He certainly didn’t apologize for his involvement or condemn Affleck.

The public quickly forgot that Phoenix was involved at all and his name didn’t become a part of the #MeToo narrative.

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Gettyimages | Artit Oubkaew / EyeEm

For men like Affleck to abuse women, especially on the set of a movie, a lot of people have to look the other way. A lot of people have to laugh it off, or ignore it, or tell the women to “lighten up” or “learn to take a joke.”

Joaquin Phoenix is not only one of the people who looked the other way, but he’s also one of the people who participated even if it was to a lesser degree.

It’s time to hold complicit men like Phoenix responsible too.

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