12 Things to do Instead of Watching ‘Manchester by the Sea’
Hollywood can be a hotbed for abusive white men: a dark, damp, festering breeding grounds for scraggly beards, wandering hands and forceful words. We live for these men. We slurp down sodas while drinking in their blockbuster hits. We ship them with J-Lo. We take abusive white men in with open arms and say, “Surprise! It’s an Oscar! Congrats on being awarded the highest possible honor in your field despite your very public record of abuse!”
Enter Casey Affleck: a seemingly mellow, chill-adjacent art bro who was born, raised and incubated in the womb of white, male Hollywood. He’s surrounded by privileged mentors and kin who encapsulate what it meant to be a movie star in 2003. His brother Ben and his buddy Matt Damon groomed him (in the creative sense, not physical, obviously) for the sort of superstardom 2000s men could only dream of; oh, to be part of the bro-coven — the broven? I hate to repurpose a word beloved by pea-brained Trumpinistas, but Casey Affleck was, and is, the perfect storm of Hollywood elitism. Movie-stardom is quite literally embedded in his blood, and by that I mean: his peachy, privileged, crusty-looking skin.
In 2010, the youngest Affleck brother embarked on a passion project called I’m Still Here, a documentary turned mockumentary chronicling the life of his brother-in-law, Joaquin Phoenix. A producer on the project, Amanda White, accused Affleck of repeatedly harassing and sexually abusing her throughout the production. Some of the most jarring examples of abuse include Affleck demanding a crew member to remove his pants and show White his penis, insinuating that White was growing old and should reproduce with one of the male crew members, and asking Amanda, “isn’t it about time you get pregnant?” On July 23, 2010, Amanda White filed a $2 million lawsuit against the actor. The Director of Photography on I’m Still Here, Magdalena Gorka, came forward with similar allegations, describing Affleck’s treatment toward her as “the most traumatizing of her career.” She left the project after Affleck crawled into bed with her one night after a long shoot; Affleck and Phoenix insisted the crew stay in an apartment rather than a hotel. Phoenix offered Gorka the bed while the crew slept in the living room. Gorka awoke to Affleck in underwear and a t-shirt rubbing her back. She left the project, returned once Amanda White was involved, then left once again when the abuse worsened. In retaliation, Affleck refused to credit her as the Director of Photography on the film or pay her the agreed upon producer’s fee.
Unfortunately, Hollywood thought that sort of behavior was not only acceptable, but was actually kind of dope. So dope, in fact, that last night Casey Affleck took home the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Manchester by the Sea. If you’re reading this and thinking, “wow, this is so crazy. What can I do to help?” Unless you’re an extremely powerful and wealthy white man already deeply engrained in the oily, muddy, slippery machine of studio films, the answer is: not a lot in total immediacy. But, you can help by not contributing to the problem. Boycott the movie! Be the paid protestor you wish to see in this world.
Here’s a list of things you can do instead of watching Manchester by the Sea:
2. Go to a rally for women’s rights. Stay up to date on local protests, marches and huddles near you by going to womensmarch.com.
3. Believe women when they say they’ve been abused! It’s painstakingly hard to come forward as a survivor of abuse. Remember that time, like, 50 women accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting them and everyone was like, “hmm, I don’t know! They didn’t swab their vaginas immediately after being assaulted… seems mad sus!” Same. Let’s not do that again.
4. Call your Congressmen and Congresswomen and urge them to support reproductive rights. Here’s how to find your reps! Here’s a script you can use. Replace “Steve Bannon” with “reproductive rights,” obv. Actually, I’d love to replace Steve Bannon with reproductive rights IRL. Bye, bitch.
5. Watch Fences. Do it, dumbass.
6. Watch Hidden Figures. DON’T ASK QUESTIONS.
7. Watch Arthur re-runs. Like who cares anymore, right? We’re all gonna die.
8. Donate to RAINN, the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the US. Do it now!
9. Take the 2 hours and 17 minutes you now have free to get high, go to Target, buy a LEGO Batman set, and build Harley Quinn straight getting it on her motorbike. Y’all see LEGO Batman? Gayest movie I’ve seen in years. And it was executive produced by our very own acting Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin. This is our life now, America. The cabinet is producing children’s movies with closet-case homo-romantic storylines.
10. Practice how to answer people when they ask you, “are you ok?” For example, my usual response is: “is anyone?” Needs work!
11. Anything else. Experiment with new ways to wipe your asshole. Back to front? Front to back? Wet tissue? Do you.
12. No seriously, do you! Masturbate until you get early onset carpal tunnel. Masturbate until your friends are like, “why are your hands so pruny?” Masturbate until Hollywood refuses to endorse, protect and promote abusive men! Don’t do that last one, you’ll be masturbating for decades. I want to help you, not hurt you.