Days after Casey Affleck broke his silence regarding the sexual harassment allegations against him, Affleck’s Manchester by the Sea director and Oscar-winning screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan is doing the same, albeit in a more colorful fashion. Writing a Letter to the Editor to student newspaper The Wesleyan Argus entitled “How Connor Aberle and The Argus are Complicit in Slandering Casey Affleck,” Lonergan rips into Aberle for penning an op-ed that is critical of Affleck, Lonergan, and Wesleyan, the latter of which congratulated former student Lonergan on his Oscar win. In his reply, Lonergan rips into the student opinion piece for being “such a tangle of illogic, misinformation and flat-out slander that only the author’s presumed youth can possibly excuse his deeply offensive display of ignorance, and warped PC-fueled sense of indignation.”
But frequently dropping the word “alleged,” which grown-up journalists mindful of their own vulnerability to libel suits are careful to include when they compose equally wrongheaded pieces on this subject, he writes as if Casey Affleck were actually guilty of a crime. In fact, it was alleged 7 years ago, in a civil lawsuit for breach of contract, that Casey sexually harrased two women formerly in his employ. Casey denounced the allegations as being totally fabricated. Like most civil suits, this one was settled out of court by mutual consent on undisclosed terms. In other words nothing was proved or disproved. So how does Mr Aberle dare to write as if he knows who was telling the truth and who was not?
All in all, Lonergan seems to condemn professed faith in any sexual harassment allegations that are not backed up by incontrovertible proof, a rarity in such cases. He continues on to remind Aberle of the “fundamental precept that an allegation is not an indictment” and says, “Nor can it be treated as such by any ethical person living in a democratic society supposedly based on the rule of law.” Read his piece in full here.