In what looks to be turning into a “where there’s smoke there’s a fire” situation, a second woman has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Casey Affleck. Magdalena Gorka, the Director of Photography on the mockumentary I’m Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix, is suing Affleck for $2.25 million, alleging he climbed into her bed while she was asleep and that she was later “berated and verbally attacked by Affleck after she refused his sexual advances in New York, and was criticized constantly for refusing to be submissive in response to his rants and derisive comments,” according to the complaint.
The lawsuit comes less than a week after Amanda White, a producer on the Joaquin Phoenix project, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Casey Affleck alleging he propositioned her for sex, hired prostitutes to be on set that weren’t used in the film and created an intolerable environment for women staff with his misogynist actions like calling them “cows.” (You can read more about Amanda White’s lawsuit HERE.)
The following is Magdalena Gorka’s description of the bedroom invasion from the complaint. Gorka describes the incident in detail, her time away from the project, and what made her decide to come back weeks later to continue working for Affleck. (I have substituted “Gorka” for “Plaintiff”)
In mid-December 2008, Gorka traveled with other crew members to New York to shoot scenes involving Phoenix. Affleck and Phoenix decided not to put the crew up in a hotel, and the crew instead stayed overnight at Phoenix and Affleck’s apartment.
At the time, Gorka was the only woman on the Project. After a long night of shooting, Phoenix told Gorka to sleep in his bed and he would sleep in the living room. Because she believed she was in a private bedroom, Gorka went to sleep in a camisole and pajama pants.
During the middle of the night, Gorka awoke to find Affleck lying in the bed next to her. Unbeknownst to Gorka, Affleck had entered the bedroom while she was asleep and crawled into the bed. When she woke up, Affleck was curled up next to her in the bed wearing only his underwear and a t-shirt. He had his arm around her, was caressing her back, his face was within inches of hers and his breath reeked of alcohol.
Plaintiff was shocked and repulsed because she did not know where he had touched her while she was sleeping or how long he had been there before she woke up.
Gorka immediately jumped up and told Affleck to get out of her bed. Affleck responded by asking “why?” Gorka said “because you are married and because you are my boss.” Affleck, undeterred, asked if Gorka “was sure.” Gorka said she was sure and insisted that he leave the room. Affleck left and slammed the door in anger.
The next morning, Gorka confronted Affleck about the incident. Gorka told Affleck that something like that could never happen again and that his advances were unwelcome.
Gorka got on a plane back to Los Angeles and immediately told her agent about Affleck’s sexual advances. Gorka left the Project as a direct result of the harassment she encountered in New York.
For several weeks, Gorka tried to obtain work on a new project with no success. In January 2009, Gorka was contacted by a producer for the Project, Amanda White (“White”). White told Gorka that Affleck had requested she return to the Project. Gorka was wary about working with Affleck after his behavior in New York, but Gorka believed that another woman on the Project would create a safer working environment and deter Affleck and the others from harassing her further.
After receiving assurances that White would be present during all filming, Gorka agreed to return to the production. Over the next few months, Gorka was subjected to numerous incidents of outrageous and offensive conduct. She was subjected to a near daily barrage of sexual comments, innuendo and unwelcome advances by crew members, within the presence and with the active encouragement of Affleck. Gorka was berated and verbally attacked by Affleck after she refused his sexual advances in New York, and was criticized constantly for refusing to be submissive in response to his rants and derisive comments.
Gorka objected to Defendants’ harassing conduct and could not continue to work in such a hostile and offensive work environment. Gorka was ultimately forced to resign from the Project—for the second time—after months of work as Director of Photography because of the harassment and abuse.
The full complaint (You can download it as a PDF HERE) lists six causes of action:
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Constructive Discharge in Violation of Public Policy
Breach of Oral Contract
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
Magdalena Gorka claims she was hired via oral agreement at $300 per day with a deferred $700-per-day fee to be received upon sale of the film to a distributor, which occurred in July when Magnolia bought the film with plans to release it in the fall. Gorka has also lost her “Director of Photography” credit.
It’s beginning to sound as though the cameras were focused on the wrong man! Forget Joaquin’s already old news rapper antics, we want to see the documentary I’m Still Here: The Lost Year of Casey Affleck!
UPDATE – You can see Magdalena Gorka starring in a photofilm shot by Saam Gabbay HERE!