Ben Affleck is facing his sexual harassment accusations head on.
As you may know, the 45-year-old actor is currently on a press tour for Justice League — but interviewers would be remiss to not bring up Affleck’s connection to the Harvey Weinstein allegations, as well as his own controversial behavior.
On Thursday night, the father of three appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, who didn’t hesitate to ask Affleck the tough questions about the clear abuse of power against women in the industry.
Even though the celeb nervously quipped, “This is a comedy show, correct?” initially, we applaud him for not shying away — and encouraging everyone to believe the women (and men!) coming forward.
When asked specifically about the disgraced producer who helped begin his career, Jennifer Garner‘s ex said:
“You know, for me, it was awful to see the extent of these terrible crimes. 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├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥early movies that I really loved doing, when I still was totally brand new. And so, it sort of tainted that a little bit to realize while we were having these experiences and making these movies, there were people who were suffering and dealing with awful experiences. I didn’t really know what to do with that, you know? It’s hard to know.”
As we reported, the actor has since decided to donate his residual money from Miramax movies to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and Film Independent:
“I didn’t want to sort of cash a check form the guy, and I thought, ‘Maybe I can feel OK about it if it’s going to a good cause.'”
Colbert went on to give Affleck the opportunity to comment on his own allegations of “sexual impropriety” — to which the Argo star said:
“What I was accused of by a woman was of touching her breast while giving her a hug. 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 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 awkward or strange encounters we might have had where we’re sort of navigating and not knowing.”
Referencing a clip that went viral earlier this week, Affleck said:
“I just did an interview where somebody asked me a question├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥it was a serious question, and I kind of felt uncomfortable and didn’t know what to say and laughed awkwardly. It’s just a tricky thing to try to handle. I think the most important thing to do is to 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 so that people can feel safe doing it.”
The Oscar winner also acknowledged the privilege he has as a male in the business, explaining:
“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. I didn’t understand what it’s like to be groped, to be harassed, to be interrupted, talked over, paid less, you know, pushed around, belittled├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥all the things that women deal with, that for me as a man, I have the privilege of not having to deal with. Part of this, for me, has been listening to people I really care about and love as they tell me stories of stuff that has happened to them├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥this is men and women├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥and recognizing it’s a real thing. I’m not spokesman. I’m not a superhero. I can’t change it by myself. I can just be accountable for myself and my actions.”
LOUDER FOR THOSE IN THE BACK, BEN!!
You can watch the full segment (below):
Ben spoke about the same issue on Friday morning with Savannah Guthrie by talking about the current cultural shift because of the courageous #MeToo movement:
“It certainly feels like a really important moment. It feels like a time when survivors are finding their voice, and people├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥and I include include myself in this├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥are really discovering the terrible extent of this problem here in our country. I certainly don’t think it’s just limited to Hollywood. But I expect if you see it this prevalent in this industry, it must extend to finance, tech and all those other places, and it’s really disturbing. It’s also inspiring to see people come forward and assert themselves. That’s very moving.”
As for whether he knew about Harvey’s disgusting behavior, the director said:
“I knew he was sleazy and kind of a bully, but unfortunately that wasn’t that uncommon. I was brand new to Hollywood. I was 24 years old. I had never made a movie. I didn’t know much of anything, really. It really is a shame, because although I stopped working with Harvey a long time ago, those movies hold a special place in my heart. To now look back on it and think, ‘Gosh, some other people were going through something really ugly, difficult and terrible and disturbing and terrifying while that was happening,’ is kind of…I don’t know … The only thing I can think to do is give my residuals from my Harvey movies to a couple of organizations that I think are making a difference, and try to reconcile that. It’s a way for me to feel better about that early stage of my career, when I made those movies with him.”
“I don’t really want to get into other people’s individual stories, because I feel like those are their stories and they’re entitled to tell as much or as little of those as they want. I believe Rose. I support her. I really like and admire her tenacity, and I wish her the best.”
Ultimately, Ben said he’s dedicated to “looking inward” and being accountable for his actions:
“That’s all you can do, certainly as a man in my position and recognizing how fortunate I am, recognizing the privilege that I have. I’m also really trying to open my eyes and hold myself accountable, because that’s all we can really do. It’s a lot harder than pointing a finger at everybody else, really asking, ‘What have I done that’s crossed the line? How can I do better? How can I be more respectful, more inclusive, more mindful of this?’ That’s the kind of person that I want to be.”
As for what he would have done differently, the A-lister admitted:
“There’s plenty of jokes I wouldn’t have made, or things I wouldn’t have done. It’s a time when├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥and it’s happened almost overnight├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥there’s a heightened level of awareness. One of the good things about that is the self-consciousness of, ‘How am I fitting into the world here? How are my actions affecting other people? How is this interaction going to leave this person feeling?’ It’s easy to sort of gloss over that stuff and get self-involved. The hard thing is really, as I said, to be mindful and live in the present moment.”
Watch his interview on TODAY (below):
While we think Ben’s past actions are inexcusable, we do appreciate him stepping into the dialogue and acknowledging his wrongdoing head-on, while calling for empowerment of women. These are the tough conversations we should all be having!
P.S. to end on a light note, watch Ben reveal that Donald Trump would demand to appear in any movies filmed at his properties (lol) (below)!
[Image via CBS.]