The past few months have seen several men in Hollywood, including Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein, be accused of sexual assault by a number of people. This also includes Ben Affleck, who apologized last month for his actions against Hilarie Burton, where he groped one of her breasts during an episode of TRL back in 2001. He spoke about that incident and how other men should take accountability for their actions on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert last night.
Ben spoke with Stephen Colbert about Harvey and many others sexual allegation scandals, where he notes how in the dark he was about what was truly going on. “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,” he said. “I didn’t understand what it’s like to be groped, 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.”
“Part of this, for me, has been listening to people that I care about and love as they tell me stories of stuff that’s happened to them (this is men and women) and realizing this is a real thing,” he continued. “I’m not a spokesperson, I’m not a superhero, I can’t change it by myself. I can just be accountable for myself and for my actions.
Ben was the one to bring up the incident with Hilarie during the episode, saying “What I was accused of by a woman was touching her breast while I gave her a hug. I don’t remember it but I absolutely apologize for it. I certainly don’t think she’s lying or making it up. It’s just the kind of thing 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 and be part of the solution’.”
“I think the most important thing to do is support the voices coming forward, believe them, and create a business where more women are empowered and in place so less of this happens and so there is a way of reporting this stuff that people can feel safe doing,” he added.
Hilarie isn’t the only woman to come forward with claims against the Good Will Hunting actor. Annamarie Tendler, wife of comedian John Mulaney, also spoke about her own alleged incidents with him where he grabbed her behind during a Golden Globes party.
Ben spoke out against Harvey in early October, who he worked with on films like Good Will Hunting, which he won an Oscar for. “I hadn’t worked for Harvey for more than 15 years, but nevertheless I felt this attachment to him with movies like Good Will Hunting and Shakespeare in Love and Chasing Amy and some of the early movies that I really loved doing when I still was totally brand new,” he said. “It sort of tainted that to realize that while we were having this experience and making these movies, there were people that were suffering and dealing with awful experiences. I didn’t really know what to do with that.”
Ben is taking his words in this situation and putting it to good use. He has pledged to donate all future earnings from Harvey Weinstein related movies to anti-sexual assault organization RAINN and arts organization Film Independent (F.I).