Stephen Colbert presses Ben Affleck on Harvey Weinstein, his own groping claim
Ben Affleck came on The Late Show Thursday night to plug Justice League but found himself in the hot seat. What began with light banter about the actor’s role as Batman in the new film and the forthcoming 20th anniversary of Good Will Hunting soon turned to the environment of sexual harassment in Hollywood, as host Stephen Colbert grilled Affleck on Harvey Weinstein and the actor’s own alleged sexual misconduct.
“This is a comedy show, correct?” Affleck laughed as Colbert brought up Weinstein, now a pariah of the industry after decades of sexual harassment and assault claims came to light. Affleck said he hasn’t “worked for Harvey for more than 15 years,” but he did on films like Good Will Hunting, Shakespeare in Love, and Chasing Amy.
“It was awful to see the extent of these terrible crimes, and it was hideous,” he said, adding how his experience filming those earlier works is now “tainted” when you realize that “while we were making these movies and having these experiences, there were people who were suffering and dealing with awful experiences.”
Affleck reiterated his mission to donate any residual income he makes off of Weinstein’s movies to organizations like RAINN and Film Independent.
Since the stories about Weinstein broke, numerous men and women have come forward with similar claims against other figures in the industry. Directors Brett Ratner and James Toback, Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, Steven Seagal, Ed Westwick, former WME agent Adam Venit, and former Amazon Studios head Roy Price are just some of the names at the center of these allegations.
Affleck, too, has been accused of groping MTV correspondent Hilarie Burton during a TRL appearance in 2001. He has since apologized, tweeting on Oct. 11, “I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize.”
“What I was accused of by a woman was of touching her breast while I gave her a hug,” he told Colbert when the late-night host brought up the incident. “I don’t remember it, but I absolutely apologized for it. I certainly don’t think she’s lying or making it up. 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.”
Affleck added, “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.”
Watch Affleck’s conversation about Weinstein beginning at the 2:34 mark in the video above.