The many sexual misconduct allegations that have hit Hollywood in recent weeks have opened Ben Affleck’s eyes. During an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Thursday, November 16, the 45-year-old actor addressed his apology for groping Hilarie Burton on Total Request Live in 2003.
“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,” Affleck said. “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.’”
The Justice League actor continued, “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.”
Affleck took accountability for the incident after the One Tree Hill alum, 35, tweeted in October that she “didn’t forget” about it. She also shared a clip of TRL outtakes, in which she recalled, “He comes over and tweaks my left boob.” Affleck apologized on Twitter on October 11, writing, “I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize.”
The Gone Girl actor also told host Stephen Colbert that he thought he “had a sense of the scope of the problem” in Hollywood, adding, “The truth is, I really didn’t. 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.”
The next morning, Affleck appeared on the Today show and further discussed the allegations against stars including Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. He specifically addressed actress Rose McGowan’s claims that Weinstein, 65, raped her, which the producer has denied.
“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,” the Good Will Hunting actor told Savannah Guthrie. “I believe Rose. I support her. I really like and admire her tenacity and wish her the best.”
The feeling may not be mutual, though. The Charmed alum, 44, told Affleck to “f–k off” on Twitter in October before suggesting that he knew about Weinstein’s behavior. She added, “You lie.”