Ben Affleck was left visibly uncomfortable after Stephen Colbert grilled him on The Late Show about allegations of sexual harassment. Affleck, who has been promoting Justice League, started the show discussing the movie. But, several minutes in, Colbert segued from talking about the 20th anniversary of Affleck’s Goodwill Hunting by mentioning the person who produced that movie: Harvey Weinstein.
Colbert asked whether Affleck felt he had a responsibility to “do something more than simply just distance yourself,” given that Weinstein had essentially kickstarted Affleck’s career. In Affleck’s response, he pointed that he hadn’t worked for Weinstein in “more than 15 years,” and that it was a shock to him to see “the extent of these terrible crimes.” But Affleck was obviously uncomfortable with the topic, asking Colbert, “This is a comedy show, correct?”
Colbert then brought up the allegations against Affleck himself: namely, that he had groped actress Hilarie Burton in 2003 on air at MTV’s Total Request Live. Affleck responded that he “[doesn’t] remember it” but that he “absolutely apologizes for it.” He said that he believes that men in Hollywood need to be “really, really mindful of our behavior and hold ourselves accountable and say, “If I was ever part of the problem, I want to change. I want to be part of the solution.”
This is not the first awkward moment on Affleck’s press tour for Justice League. When a reporter asked him last week how the “team dynamic” of the cast would change if they hired more actresses to play female members of the League, Affleck laughed and responded, “Are you following the news at all?” Some commentators saw it as an attempt to make light of the numerous sexual assault allegations that have been made recently.
the jl cast’s reactions to ben affleck dropping a joke about all the sexual assault allegations in hollywood is like a renaissance painting pic.twitter.com/HHWjPxPkt5
— caroline (@rickdeckards) November 14, 2017
Although Colbert brought up Burton’s allegations against Affleck, he did not bring up allegations that other women have made against him. After Affleck denied knowing anything about Weinstein’s alleged crimes, actress Rose McGowan shot back, “You lie” on Twitter. McGowan further said that, after she told Affleck that Weinstein had assaulted her, Affleck simply said “Goddamnit! I told him to stop doing that.”
He walked by me, cupped my butt and pressed his finger into my crack.
— Annamarie Tendler (@amtendler) October 11, 2017
Colbert also did not bring up the allegations against Affleck made by writers Jen Statsky and Annamarie Tendler, who both said that Affleck groped multiple women at a 2014 Golden Globes party. Affleck has not responded to or acknowledged either of these allegations.
Ultimately, Affleck said that the most important thing now is to “support the voices that are coming forward, believe them, and create a business where more women are empowered.” “I’m not a spokesman. I’m not a superhero,” he told Colbert. “I can’t change it by myself. I can just be accountable for myself and for my actions.”
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