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Casey Affleck, an actor who has been accused of sexual abuse by female crew members on earlier films, has withdrawn as a presenter at the 2018 Academy Awards, the organization said Thursday. Newslook

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Casey Affleck has withdrawn from presenting the best-actress award at the Academy Awards.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed the news originally reported by Deadline.

“We appreciate the decision to keep the focus on the show and on the great work of this year," the Academy said in a statement.

Deadline reported that "the specter of Affleck presenting would have created controversy."

More: Why are some people peeved about Casey Affleck's Oscar nomination?

Earlier: The Oscars are better off without a James Franco nomination. Here's why

Past allegations of sexual misconduct dogged Affleck, 42, during awards season last year. But the actor earned a best-actor Oscar nomination for his role in Manchester By the Sea and went on to win the award.

Academy tradition dictates that the winner of the best-actor award presents the best-actress award the following year.

In 2010, two women who worked for Affleck on the experimental film I'm Still Here filed two lawsuits accusing him of repeated sexual harassment and disparagement.

Critics have spoken up about about the possibility of Affleck presenting. A petition on Change.org with more than 19,000 signatures demanded, "Don't let Casey Affleck hand off the 2018 best actress Oscar." The petitioners claimed victory on Thursday after he withdrew.

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