Sexual harassment discussions dog Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck

WASHINGTON • Ben Affleck's Justice League media rounds are focusing less on his role as Batman and more on the bombshell allegations that have been made against Harvey Weinstein, among others.

Last Thursday night on The Late Show, Stephen Colbert warmed Affleck up by reminiscing about Good Will Hunting, the actor's big break in 1997. After a quick walk down memory lane, Colbert reminded Affleck that Weinstein produced that movie and gave Affleck his start.

The actor nodded slowly, took a deep breath and said, "This is a comedy show, correct?"

He responded that Weinstein's alleged actions are awful and heinous, then talked about what the revelations have meant to him.

"I hadn't worked for Harvey in more than 15 years, but nonetheless, I felt this attachment to movies like Good Will Hunting and Shakespeare In Love (1998) and Chasing Amy (1997) and some of the early movies that I really loved doing when I still was totally brand new," he said. "So it tainted that a little bit to realise while we were having these experiences and making these movies, there were people who were suffering and dealing with awful experiences."

To try to make amends, Affleck said he had been donating the residuals from his Miramax movies to Rainn (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and Film Independent.

Colbert also asked about the time Affleck groped actress Hilarie Burton on MTV's Total Request Live in the early 2000s.

"What I was accused of by a woman was of touching her breast while I gave her a hug," Affleck explained. "I don't remember it, but I absolutely apologise for it. I certainly don't think she's lying or making it up."

In other words, he has changed and he said he hoped other men would, too - that they will be more aware of their behaviour and examine their pasts.

Affleck said: "I thought I had a sense of the scope of the problem and I thought I understood it and the truth is, I really didn't. I didn't understand what it was like to be groped, to be harassed, to be interrupted, talked over, paid less, pushed around, belittled, all the things that women deal with that, for me as a man, I had the privilege of not having to deal with."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2017, with the headline 'Sexual harassment discussions dog Ben Affleck'. Print Edition | Subscribe