Culture

Ben Affleck Is Being Slammed For Inappropriate Behaviour, One Day After Condemning Weinstein

He's now apologised for groping Hilarie Burton's breast on MTV.

Ben Affleck has been criticised for his involvement in two on-camera incidents involving women, just one day after his public statement about the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The incidents, which took place in 2003 and 2004, involve Affleck groping the breasts of an actress and a reporter (respectively).

Affleck has apologised via Twitter for the 2003 incident, involving TV star Hilarie Burton… which is pretty awkward considering his earlier statement that he was “saddened and angered” by the sexual harassment and assault allegations against Weinstein.

The whole thing is very ew ew ew, uncomfortable and bad. It’s very simple: do not touch people’s bodies without their permission.

The first incident, which took place on MTV’s TRL in 2003 and involved Affleck groping Burton, resurfaced after Affleck released his statement describing Weinstein’s behaviour as “sick”. An angry fan shared his statement on Twitter, and wrote that Affleck should have “kept quiet” about the issue.

This prompted someone to comment, “He also grabbed Hilarie Burton’s breasts on TRL once. Everyone forgot though”.

Then Burton bravely entered the fray, tweeting back, “I didn’t forget”.

Burton is probably most famous for playing Peyton on teen soap One Tree Hill, opposite Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush. When Brim apologised for dredging up the memory, Burton replied: “Seriously, thank you for that. I was just a kid.” Burton was 18 years old at the time of the incident.

Since the exchange, video footage of the incident has surfaced online, showing that Affleck does in fact “tweak” (in her own words) Burton’s breast. Burton later tweeted another response to the incident, where she wrote, “Girls. I’m so impressed with you brave ones. I had to laugh back then so I wouldn’t cry. Sending love.” You can see the video below.

This actually isn’t the first time Affleck has been caught on camera groping a woman in a professional context. In 2004 he conducted an interview with Montreal reporter Anne-Marie Losique, who was interviewing Affleck for his upcoming flop-to-be, Jersey Girl. (Which, ironically enough, is a Miramax film). The footage, which actually resurfaced a few months ago, is really quite disturbing to watch.

During the interview, Affleck pulls Losique onto his knee, fondles her breasts and tries to coerce her into removing her top. “Get them titties out. Who you trying to fool?” Affleck says to Losique, before touching her breasts and continuing, “Your breasts are very firm, suspiciously firm I have to say, like two giant stones.”

For what it’s worth, Losique has defended Affleck in an interview with E! Online, explaining, “We have this game to play for the cameras between Ben and I where he would imitate my accents and then it would just go on. And yes, I sat on his lap but it was all fun and games for the cameras. Nothing improper ever happened.”

Sure, Affleck may not be anywhere near the level of the offences allegedly committed by Weinstein. However, it’s quite clear (especially considering Affleck is thought of as Weinstein’s protege) this behaviour is part of the broader problem.

Seriously, pack it all up, we’re done here. Hollywood is over.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.auIn an emergency, call 000.

Men can access anonymous confidential telephone counselling to help to stop using violent and controlling behaviour through the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491.