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Entertainment Weekly

Movies

Ben Affleck apologizes to Hilarie Burton, admits 'acted inappropriately' in groping incident

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Ben Affleck has apologized to former One Tree Hill star and MTV correspondent Hilarie Burton for groping her during an MTV TRL appearance in 2001.

“I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize,” Affleck wrote on Twitter.

On Tuesday, in the wake of Affleck’s statement about the sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein, a fan tweeted criticism of the Justice League actor, including how he had “also grabbed Hilarie Burton’s breasts on TRL once” and that “everyone forgot” the incident occurred. In response, Burton wrote, “I didn’t forget.”

The actress, who is expecting a second child with The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan, added that she was “just a kid” when Affleck touched her on-air. “Girls. I’m so impressed with you brave ones,” Burton wrote. “I had to laugh back then so I wouldn’t cry. Sending love.”

Burton also shared a video of the TRL Uncensored II cold open that featured her interview with Affleck, which included the actor asking if Burton was 19. (Burton, who was born in 1982, turned 19 in 2001; Affleck, who was born in 1972, turned 29 that same year.)

Another clip from the TRL Uncensored II special, which was uploaded to YouTube, shows Burton’s interaction with Affleck in more detail. “He wraps his arm around me and comes over and tweaks my left boob,” Burton said about the Affleck interview in the clip, later adding, “Some girls like a good tweakage here and there. I’d rather have a high-five.”

On Tuesday, Affleck released a statement condemning Weinstein. “I am saddened and angry that a man who I worked with used his position of power to intimidate, sexually harass and manipulate many women over decades,” Affleck said. “The additional allegations of assault that I read this morning made me sick. This is completely unacceptable, and I find myself asking what I can do to make sure this doesn’t happen to others. We need to do better at protecting our sisters, friends, co-workers and daughters. We must support those who come forward, condemn this type of behavior when we see it and help ensure there are more women in positions of power.” Affleck’s comments were criticized on social media, including by actress Rose McGowan.

In his own statement to The New Yorker, Weinstein denied any allegations of non-consensual sex. “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”

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