Ben Affleck spoke about the groping allegations made against him as he appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Thursday.
Affleck, 45, was accused of groping Hilarie Burton’s breast during an appearance on MTV’s “Total Request Live” years ago, and has since issued a statement to apologize.
Colbert, 53, brought up the allegations while Affleck was promoting his new movie “Justice League”. He started off by mentioning the horrific Harvey Weinstein expose before Affleck, who hasn’t worked with the disgraced movie-maker for more than 15 years, labelled the whole thing “hideous.”
The Oscar-winning star explained of his own allegations of sexual misconduct: “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.”
He went on, “It’s just the kind of thing we have to, as men, as we become more aware of this, be more mindful of our behaviour 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.”
Affleck then brought up an interview he’d done just before the show, which he admitted he’d laughed through because he felt uncomfortable when asked about the ongoing sexual abuse allegations.
“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.”
Affleck added on the Global talk show that, as a male, he “doesn’t understand what it’s like to be groped and harassed, pushed around or belittled.”
He revealed, “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. 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 — this is men and women — and recognizing it’s a real thing. I’m not a spokesman, I’m not a superhero, I can’t change it by myself. I can just be accountable for myself and my actions.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Affleck also spoke about receiving a glowing review from Donald Trump, who said he thought the actor “would do a great job as Batman.”
During a separate chat on the TODAY Show on Friday, Affleck was asked about Rose McGowan, after she accused him of knowing more than he was letting on in terms of the Weinstein scandal.
Refusing to comment on individual’s stories, the “Argo” star said, “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. I believe Rose, I support her, I really like and admire her tenacity and wish her the best.”
McGowan – who has accused Weinstein of rape – called Affleck a “liar” on Twitter after he posted a statement to say how “saddened and angry” he was about the whole thing.