Ben Affleck sat down Friday morning with Savannah Guthrie on the “Today” show, where he discussed the sexual misconduct scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein, who was instrumental in launching his career.
Affleck, who is making the rounds to promote “Justice League,” told Guthrie, “I knew [Weinstein] was sleazy and kind of a bully, but unfortunately, that wasn’t that uncommon.” He explained that, as a 24-year-old newcomer to Hollywood who “had never made a movie,” he did not understand how the business worked and what behavior was deemed acceptable. Affleck shared his first Academy Award win with Matt Damon for their “Good Will Hunting” screenplay.
In addition to his breakout film “Good Will Hunting,” Affleck collaborated with Weinstein on several other movies, including “Shakespeare in Love,” which starred his former girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow — one of the many women who have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment.
He answered questions regarding the same subject during an appearance on “The Late Show” Thursday night. In the interview, the star elaborated about making an effort to truly understand the extent of sexual harassment in Hollywood, as well as holding himself accountable for his own actions.
“This is a comedy show, correct?” he laughed as Stephen Colbert began to discuss Weinstein. Affleck said the experiences he had creating his early works with Weinstein are now “tainted” because “while we were making these movies … there were people who were suffering.” He reiterated his aim to donate any residual income he earns from Weinstein’s films to organizations such as RAINN and Film Independent.
Affleck himself was recently accused of groping actress Hilarie Burton in 2003. Soon after, he tweeted his apologies for the alleged incident. Addressing the accusation on “The Late Show,” he said, “What I was accused of by a woman was of touching her breast while I gave 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 that we have to as men, I think, as we become more aware of this, be really, really mindful of our behavior.”
“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,” he added.