One of the more subtle statements of protest at the Oscars last month came from Brie Larson: The Room actress presented Casey Affleck with the award for best actor, but while the audience erupted in applause, she was one of the few who did not clap. Many interpreted the response as a silent demonstration in light of the sexual harassment allegations against Affleck dating back to 2010.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Larson addressed her response. “I think that whatever it was that I did onstage kind of spoke for itself,” she said at the Hollywood premiere of Kong: Skull Island. “I’ve said all that I need to say about that topic.”
In 2010, two women who worked with Affleck on the film I’m Still Here filed sexual harassment lawsuits against him. Affleck has repeatedly denied the allegations and the claims were settled out of court, but his win on Oscar night prompted an intense reaction over social media.
Since portraying a sexual assault survivor in Room, Larson has become an advocate for victims. During the 2016 Oscars, where she won best actress for her performance, she embraced each of the rape survivors who appeared on stage with Lady Gaga for “Til It Happens to You.”
It should also be noted Larson didn’t clap for or hug Affleck when she had to present him best actor in a drama category at this year’s Golden Globes.
“Having played two characters who were sexually abused [in Room and Short Term 12], I’ve done a lot of work with victims of sexual abuse,” she said during an interview with Jane Fonda in Elle magazine. “We can’t take any steps backward in allowing people to think abuse is their fault. It’s the people-pleaser disease.”
Affleck was asked about the backlash over his Oscars win during an interview with the Boston Globe. “I believe that any kind of mistreatment of anyone for any reason is unacceptable and abhorrent, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect in the workplace and anywhere else,” he said. “There’s really nothing I can do about it,” he added. “Other than live my life the way I know I live it and to speak to what my own values are and how I try to live by them all the time.”