Stephen Colbert pressed Ben Affleck on The Late Show this week for his thoughts on the spate of sexual misconduct allegations that have been going their rounds in Hollywood since Harvey Weinstein’s fall from grace, Vanity Fair reports. Affleck appeared on the show to promote the Justice League movie, which premiered this week to much fanfare.
The interview started innocently enough, with Ben Affleck talking candidly about his early days in Hollywood. The conversation, however, took an awkward turn when Stephen Colbert brought up Harvey Weinsten, who produced Affleck’s films under Miramax.
“This is a comedy show, correct?” joked Affleck, who looked visibly nervous when the conversation touched on the disgraced producer.
“I knew he was sleazy and kind of a bully, but unfortunately that wasn’t that uncommon,” Ben Affleck said. “I was brand new to Hollywood. I was 24 years old, I never made a movie and didn’t know much of anything really. To now look back on it and think gosh some other people were going through something really ugly and disturbing and difficult and terrible and terrifying… the only thing I could think to do is to give my residuals from my Harvey movies to a couple of organizations that I think are making a difference and try to reconcile that.”
Colbert’s shift in conversation drew a chorus of groans from the audience, who probably knew what was coming. Not long after the allegations against Weinstein emerged, Affleck himself has been accused of sexual misconduct. The incident in question involved then-MTV correspondent Hilarie Burton, who claimed that Ben Affleck groped her onTRL in 2001, as reported by Telegraph.
“I don’t remember it, but I absolutely apologized for it,” Affleck said. The apology he’s referring to reads as follows: “I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize.”
“I certainly don’t think she’s lying or making it up,” he continued. “It’s just the kind of thing that we have to as men, I think, as we become more aware of this, 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,’ and to not shy away from these uncomfortable or awkward or strange encounters that we might’ve had where we were sort of navigating and not knowing.”
Stephen Colbert, however, didn’t mention the other groping allegations made against Affleck. One such allegation was made by Annamarie Tendler, who claimed that the actor touched her inappropriately during a Golden Globes party in 2014. Tendler asked the actor for an apology, but didn’t get a response.
Following Tendler’s accusations, comedy writer Jen Starkey went on Twitter to claim that “multiple friends” underwent similar experiences with the actor at the same event.
On Weinstein, Ben Affleck said that he didn’t realize the “scope of the problem” until the allegations of sexual misconduct against the producer came to light. He added that the movies that he did under Harvey Weinstein’s production felt “tainted” now that he knows that behind the scenes were numerous women suffering in silence.
“It was awful to see the extent of these terrible crimes and it was hideous. I haven’t worked for Harvey in more than 15 years, but nonetheless, I felt this attachment. I did movies like ‘Good Will Hunting,’ ‘Shakespeare in Love’ and ‘Chasing Amy’ – early movies that I really loved doing, when I still was totally brand new. And so it sort of rained that a little bit to realize while we were having these experiences and making these movies, there were people who ere suffering and dealing with awful experiences. I didn’t really know what to do with that, you know? It’s hard to know.”
Ben Affleck also told Stephen Colbert that he donated the residual money he earned under Miramax to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network).
Affleck threw his support for the women who are coming forward to share their stories. He urged people that these women should be believed.
“I think the most important thing to do is to support the voices that are coming forward, believe them, and create a business where more women are empowered and in place so less of this happens and so that there is a way of reporting this stuff that people can feel safe doing it.”
Rose McGowan’s accusation that Ben Affleck chose not to do anything when the actress told him about Weinstein’s inappropriate behavior towards her was also brought up.
“I don’t really want to get into other people’s individual stories because I feel like those are their stories and they are entitled to tell as much or as little of those as they want,” he said. “I believe Rose, I support her, I really like and admire her tenacity and wish her the best.”
[Featured Image by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images]