Ben Affleck has addressed the sexual harassment scandal sweeping Hollywood, insisting one way to help further change is for men to be more “mindful” of their behavior.
The 45-year-old actor found himself involved in the scandal in October (17) when footage of a 2013 TRL interview resurfaced on social media showing Ben grabbing presenter Hilarie Burton’s breast.
Speaking about the situation on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Thursday night (16Nov17), Ben said that while he doesn’t specifically remember the incident, he was more than willing to apologize for it. And, going forward, he has been even more conscious of his actions in a bid to be part of the solution to the scandal.
“I don’t remember it, but I absolutely apologized for it. I certainly don’t think she’s lying or making it up,” Ben said. “It’s just the kind of thing we have to as men, as we become more aware of this, be more 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.’
“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 that there is a way of reporting this stuff so that people can feel safe doing it.”
The scandal began in October when the New York Times published an expose detailing years of alleged sexual harassment and abuse by movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Since then, several more Hollywood power players, including James Toback, Brett Ratner and Kevin Spacey, have found themselves at the centre of similar allegations
Ben has called the scandal “hideous”, but it has made him re-evaluate his own stance on sexual harassment.
“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 explained. “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: all the things that women deal with, 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 and recognizing it’s a real thing.”