26/01/2018 08:53 GMT

Oscars 2018: Casey Affleck Pulls Out Of Best Actress Presenting Role

'We appreciate the decision to keep the focus on the show and on the great work of this year.'

Casey Affleck has pulled out of presenting the award for Best Actress at this year’s Oscars.

Traditionally, the recipient of the Best Actor prize will present the award for Best Actress at the following year’s Academy Awards, and vice versa.

However, an Oscars spokesperson has now confirmed that Affleck has chosen not to appear at the ceremony.

Jason LaVeris via Getty Images
Casey Affleck at last year's Oscars

They said in a short statement: “We appreciate the decision to keep the focus on the show and on the great work of this year.”

Affleck’s victory last year, for his performance in ‘Manchester By The Sea’, was a controversial one, as the actor was previously sued by two female crew members for alleged sexual harassment seven years prior.

One of his accusers, who worked with him on the mockumentary ‘I’m Still Here’ in 2010, claimed he refused to pay her salary as she had turned down the chance to spend the night in a hotel room with him, adding that she had been subjected to “a nearly daily barrage of sexual comments, innuendo and unwelcome advances by crew members, within the presence and with the active encouragement of Affleck”.

Affleck’s decision not to appear during the ceremony comes following a wave of allegations of varying levels of sexual misconduct among a number of key figures in Hollywood in the second half of 2017.

So far this year, awards season has been dominated by the #MeToo and ‘Time’s Up’ movements, in particular at the Golden Globes, where the majority of attendees wore black in solidarity with the victims of sexual harassment and abuse.

Christopher Polk via Getty Images
Brie Larson and Casey Affleck last year

Casey Affleck was presented his Oscar in 2017 by Brie Larson, who had won the Academy Award for her portrayal of a sexual abuse survivor in ‘Room’ a year earlier.

Many noted at the time that Brie - who has been vocal on the subject of sexual abuse on a number of occasions - did not join in the applause as the actor came up to collect his award.

She later said: “Whatever it was that I did onstage kind of spoke for itself. I’ve said all that I need to say about that topic.”