Ben Affleck’s PR people censored, edited interviews at his Accountant junket


Sam Rubin, an entertainment reporter for Los Angeles TV station KTLA’s morning news, told a story on air earlier this week about Ben Affleck’s PR people’s curious demands during his press junket for The Accountant. Before we get into this, some of you may remember his interview with E!, where he was asked “are you surprised at how interested people are in you and Jen’s successful coparenting?” He answered tersely “very little surprises me” and then the video had a transition which cut to the next question. There may have been a reason for that. In Rubin’s segment, which you can see above, he showed a part of the interview in which he got cut off by a PR person for asking Ben a question sbout the culture of celebrity. To his credit Ben answered it thoughtfully, but then the PR guy cut in and told them to stick to the movie. Rubin excoriated the people running the junket for doing that, and for deleting segments of other interviews that they didn’t want to be released. Here’s what he said and if you don’t feel like reading this you can watch the six minute video above.

Sam Rubin, in studio: At the junket on Sunday, I both witnessed and experienced something so shocking, so unprofessional, I think it could seriously derail the prospects of the movie. The story I’m about to tell you shows complete contempt not only for me, but for you… imagine my genuine shock and surprise when after we talk about the movie the conversation veers into something maybe a bit more interesting and the PR dope who was in the room actually interrupts us.

Cut to Rubin, in interview with Affleck: There’s so much attention now, kind of paid to everything you do. You blink because you know it’s true. Is that the blessing or the burden?

Affleck: It’s a little bit absurd, I assure you I’m not all that interesting. My regular daily life is pretty mundane. I take kids to school, I drop them off. I go do my job. But it’s just part of the culture of celebrity that’s evolved. It’s also part of emerging technologies, there’s more real estate for stories and there aren’t very many stories.

Rubin:
This whole notion that it’s part of the deal…

PR guy cuts in: Can we stick to the film please?

Back to Rubin in studio, editorializing: I’m furious at myself because I should have just said “Look PR dope, I’ve done this forever for the number one morning show in Los Angeles, the one with potentially the largest potential audience to see this show. Don’t interrupt me and don’t tell me how to interview people.” I couldn’t believe it.

Rubin saw PR people editing other interviews to cut segments unflattering to Ben
I’m so mad at myself but wait it gets worse. After you do these interview you go to another room to pick up these digital cards of the interview you just conducted… when I walked in to pick up my card… studio people were actually editing someone else’s interview because he made a joke in that interview about drug use. They were taking out a remark he had made of his own free will and cutting it out of the interview they were giving to somebody. This was not the only interview that was censored on Sunday.

[From KTLA video]

Then Rubin said he wouldn’t have done the junket or promoted the movie if he knew that they were trying to censor the journalists and stars of the movie. He also said he wasn’t aware if Ben was the one behind the censorship or if his PR people thought that’s what he wanted. He was super pissed.

Hecate lives in LA and she said that Rubin has a good reputation there, but she reminded me that he’s also the journalist who mistook Samuel L. Jackson for Laurence Fishburne, after which he apologized. I don’t do press junkets so I can’t say how common these kind of demands are, but Rubin is acting as if they’re very out of the ordinary and he’s not taking it. It does sound extreme to even edit out parts of the interview that they don’t approve of. Are we surprised at this though, coming from the guy who asked PBS to censor the fact that one of his ancestors had slaves?

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Photos credit: FameFlynet and PRPhotos

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76 Responses to “Ben Affleck’s PR people censored, edited interviews at his Accountant junket”

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  1. Psu Doh Nihm says:

    I wonder how he sounded in this interview. The last one I watched he was sloshed.

  2. als says:

    I don’t know whether this is how junkets usually work but it seems there is growing discontent among reporters with this exaggerated celebrity protection system. Let’s not forget Drew McWeeny’s report on Tom Hardy. People are starting to become more vocal. Good for them.

  3. Astrid says:

    nothing surprises me anymore

  4. Goats on the Roof says:

    I am no expert, but it sounds like PR guy doing what PR guys do. They want the narrative to be about their client’s projects/best interests and not start to go off-script toward that drug use-nanny-divorce situation that’s been festering for more than a year.

  5. iheartjacksparrow says:

    I watch the KTLA morning news every morning, saw this segment live as it aired, and I’ve never seen Sam so angry. But I can see how a PR person might be unhappy as Sam always seems to talk to actors about everything but the movie they are promoting.

    • Christianna says:

      Agreed. I’d be annoyed if he asked me about the nanny scandal while I’m trying to promote a movie. They agreed to an interview to promote the movie and Sam’s asking everything but the movie. PR guy was just doing his job ensuring the movie got the attention it needed.

    • Mike says:

      Personally could care less if some celebrity “journalist” gets his tights in a bunch. Every layer of Hollywood seems to reek of self importance. If he did not like the rules then he can leave the junket. People do not watch these interviews because they are about the interviewer. He would simply be replaced with somebody else

  6. LolaB says:

    Isn’t this movie just a ripoff of an “Archer” episode?

    • DSA says:

      Wait, what? Which episode?

      Are we even thinking of the same “Archer” here? Because I’m thinking about the adult espionage cartoon show with Sterling Archer (Daaanger Zone) and Pam the HR lady with the dolphin puppet here. LOL.

      This film is about an adult maths savant (possibly has autism) who works as an accountant for some shady, dangerous clients. I think he ends up getting chased around for knowing too much.

      Maybe that journalist should’ve ask him about stuff like this instead. I think there’s a thick line between ripping-off (borderline or blatant plagiarism) and an homage. Serious stuff.

  7. Lisa says:

    That’s the game, that’s the job they do – am always surprised at the shock of entertainment journalists that rich and famous people don’t like awkward questions nor do they like to be criticised.

  8. Lyla says:

    I think that interrupting the interview to bring focus back to the movie is one thing, but editing it post-interview without consent is what is bad. Guess he hasn’t learn anything since the PBS thing.

    • ell says:

      this. i got why this journalist was annoyed BUT, it’s within ben’s rights (or anyone’s really) to decide whether he wants to share stuff about his private life or not, so the pr guy asking him to stick to the movie is fine. editing afterwards is typical twatty ben affleck though, trying to control the narrative.

    • KB says:

      They clearly didn’t edit that much considering Sam had footage before the interview started of Ben in a private conversation with an assistant or something discussing the Patriots game.

  9. JoJo says:

    I’m in PR, so yeah, a lot of this is par for the course for keeping the conversation on track. But both Ben and his team allowed other non-movie questions (about his kids, etc.) It was only when the conversations with E! and Sam looked like they were going down the path of asking about his actual adult personal life (I.e separation), that they shut things down. Guess they want to avoid anything that could potentially impact the viewing audience.

  10. K says:

    Ben not only twisted the arm of an elderly black man to hide his slave-owning ancestors, but he appeared totally drunk in a couple of high-profile on-camera things within the last several months. OF COURSE he is the one behind the censoring. He is such trash. And his boobs are out of control. He wants to censor something, have them shoot his fat dad bod from the (bloated) neck down.

  11. OrigialTessa says:

    It’s a film junket! Don’t like it? Get a job at Vanity Fair and get a real interview set up.

  12. Joni says:

    RME. They’re there to discuss the film not Ben’s personal life, how is that censorship? This Sam guy needs to get over himself

    • MrsBPitt says:

      Agreed! And this Sam guy, and his “number one morning show” reeks of, “Don’t you know who I am!!!!” Ben is under NO obligation to answer any questions, other than about his new movie. Some of these interviewers are vultures! Ben would be crazy NOT to have a PR person there. Do you think, that when Brad Pitt does any interviews for Allied (if he does any), that he won’t have a PR person there to make sure what questions are acceptable. But, of course, that would be ok, but because this is BA, he is a “jerk”!

      • marjiscott says:

        I live in the LA area, have watched KTLA 5 Morning Show for years. I saw the entire thing that morning .Mrs. BPitt is right! Sam Rubin has been there for decades, and it is really apparent to many of us viewers that he has become extremely narcissistic Sam Rubin. It was merely annoying to have the PR guy gently lean in and ask “Could you stick to the movie, please” This thing happens, a lot. Sam knows this. Just to let everyone know, he is still on this rant as of this morning. Overblown tempest in a teapot. One word for KTLA: Ratings.

    • Christianna says:

      Agreed. Rubin’s the unprofessional one here.

  13. Ima says:

    This Rubin guy sounds like a hysterical douche. The PR guy said let’s stick to the movie and he twists it into victim hood. Douche.

  14. plasticspoon says:

    I see it differently. I can understand why the interviewer is miffed. Ben Affleck has sold his family members’ private lives for years to get good press and repair his image when he needed it. Recently he very happily volunteered a story about taking his daughters to a Taylor Swift concert. Did that have anything to do with the movie that he’s promoting? LOL He always has some anecdote designed to make him look like a great husband (lmao) or a great father (snort). And anyway, if he doesn’t want interviewers to ask about things like getting thrown out of casinos, appearing drunk on tv, his affair with the nanny — too bad. I can’t feel sorry for this loser. He made his bed, etc.

  15. Kate says:

    Anyone catch Ben on GMA or Live with Kelly? Ben was clearly on “something” jittery , nervous, talking super fast, red faced, voice cracking….. It’s like he just got done doing something bad and is paranoid that he’s gonna get busted, this guy is not well, divorce does not look good on him

    • eleven says:

      I did. Oh good, I wasn’t imagining things. It seems he only has two gears these days: slurring or stuttering. Alcohol or coke. He should not be allowed to promote things.

      P.S. What divorce?

    • ell says:

      ‘divorce does not look good on him’.

      he hasn’t looked ‘good’ in a loooong time. it’s not the divorce.

    • J says:

      Let’s remember he was doing gma at 5am CA time. He was papped yesterday morning in la, so clearly 1st got into ny – the earliest last night. I did not see the kelly interview- did he have to talk about anything personal?

      At the press junket interviews he seemed fine, though when you compare to interviews he did in 13 and 14, he is clearly not the same. Almost like he is waiting for the shoe drop question he can not answer.

      How is he ever going to do the promo for live by night necessary to drum up Oscar business – which it is clearly being set up for. Lainey always says Jen garner is his good luck charm and did most of the ‘work’ promoting Argo to oscardom.

      • J says:

        Ok I just watched the live interview – he does seem extremely nervous.

        Here is what I found interesting – he talks about having his kids in England with him – and organizing tour guide etc. ha!!!! That was all clearly Jen – he came along when he could. He clearly does not want to talk about her – leading to more questions. (And kelly went along with it – they were photographed together as a family in Paris and London – that would have been the excellent Segway to talking about their co-parenting etc – she missed the boat and let him sound like he did this as a single dad on his own. Ha ha ha). Jen organized that trip, did most of the sightseeing with them – and he came along for some. There were fan photos together at the changing of the guard he described and yes – he described it exactly as it is (of course leaving out the presence of Jen garner)
        The story about meeting royal kids (maybe prince george), was really cute.

      • HannahC says:

        @J I think you’re reading too much into it. There were pics of a younger, dark-haired girl with them in Paris. When he says tour guide I think he may have actually hired someone to show them around occasionally. He wasn’t all “wink-wink” either when he said that he hired one.

      • J says:

        @hannahc. I was not implying that Jen was the tour guide, only that she appears to have been the one to have made all the arrangements, ie the hiring of the tour guide, the planning of the trip etc. Ben obviously does not want to mention her on this press tour – I just find it extremely funny the way he tries to make it sound that he did all this on his own and that she was not even there.

      • HannahC says:

        You can’t know that Jen did all of the planning. Were you present during her phone calls, or did you read her emails? Was she photographed with Things to Do in Paris guide books or something? She’s never spoken of it. You seem determined to believe that Ben is refusing to speak about Jen during this press tour but I believe you are seeing things that aren’t there. I think that’s extremely funny. The whole thing is really much ado about nothing. But I suppose if you’re right and he is going out of his way to portray himself as a great single parent doing it all, then those rumors about a reconciliation are definitely false. He would then be distancing himself publicly from the whole co-parenting schtick.

      • JoJo says:

        @J – My personal opinion is that Ben doesn’t want to have any discussions that are going to lead to the state of his marriage or more accurately – his separation/divorce. While the co-parenting discussion seems straightforward on the surface, it will inevitably lead to reporters trying to bait him in some way to give up any tiny piece of new dirt on their relationship., so I’m sure he’s just trying to avoid any mention of Jen altogether. I do think it seems he’s (or they are) slowly trying to extricate themselves from one another. Otherwise, it seem like he’d be more open to brief questions about co-parenting. I feel like last week’s show of unity might mainly have been about the kids’ first week back at school and even just grabbing dinner after parents’ night, etc.

      • J says:

        @jojo. I agree he does not want to mention Jen because he clearly does not want to talk about the state of his relationship with her, because interviewers will go down that road. (But in this case Kelly was totally complicit in that – it was common knowledge that Jen was in Europe with them – so she could have totally asked – most likely she was warned not to) – My guess is their marriage / divorce is not clear cut in any direction – otherwise he might be more comfortable discussing it – ala gwenth Paltrow – when she would openly discuss her conscious uncoupling.

      • Xav says:

        @J Why are you this crazily invested in a celebrity marriage? I’ve noticed your posts in all of the Garner-Affleck threads over the past several months and they are borderline obsessive. Reading your posts in this thread, and how desperately you are clinging to literally anything to keep the idea of these two strangers being a romantic couple, and feel sad for you.

      • JoJo says:

        @J – If they were undecided about how to move forward, Ben could easily make a comment like, “We don’t know what the future holds, but we’re continuing to put all of our focus on the kids every single day, no matter what.” That’s one of the things he said during BvS promos, and if anything, it would probably endear him more to all of her minivan supporters and WB would probably love that. I am totally speculating, but to me, it seems kind of like Ben doesn’t want to play the “together but separate” game anymore, and if they’re still figuring out how they’re going to “message” the final divorce publicly, he’s not even going to touch that subject right now. But that is JMO. :)

        On a separate note, I thought Ben seemed totally normal in terms of his behavior on Kelly. Bill Simmons – yeah, something seemed off, but I don’t think so on Kelly. He is generally a fast, animated talker.

    • KB says:

      I’ve seen interviews with him like that going back a long time. I think he’s a lot more tightly wound than he seems.

    • Sylvia says:

      It made me sad. He is a great actor and was a wonderful family man. I watched him on Kelly and it just made me feel sad for him. There is definitely something wrong.

    • Deb says:

      I just watched Fallon, recorded on Oct 6, and he was so twitchy- made me nervous just watching him. I’ve seen him in a few interviews before and he’s always very calm, cool, funny and charming. It was like his mouth could not keep up with his brain. Yeah, poor guy, something’s up with him.

  16. Bridget says:

    Every time I see the previews for this movie, I think Affleck was miscast. He’s so groomed now – he doesn’t really look like a normal person anymore.

  17. HannahC says:

    He’s totally on some substance during the Kelly interview. He was shouting, and twitching and weirdly over-animated. Oh look, he’s talking about his kids again. Fake fake fake.

  18. Ana says:

    It would be interesting to watch him tonight on Jimmy Fallon. Twitters were saying he was not only jittery, but red face and almost had a face that wanted to cry.

  19. The Original G says:

    Is there something to more to being an entertainment journalist than being a talking head obliged to cheerlead entertainment product?

  20. HmmmmB says:

    I’m sure most image-conscious celebs and their reps try to manipulate interviews so that they are shown in the best light possible. Ben and his PR must have pulled some out-of-the-ordinary shenanigans for this guy to be this upset. Which you know, is hardly surprising considering the fact that his behind-the-scenes “lobbying” resulted in Finding Your Roots being taken off the air for a year. The more I learn of Ben Affleck, the less I like him. I think I’ve moved from ambivalence to total dislike. This guy is a shyster who pretends to be normal and decent.

  21. Sumo says:

    Isn’t that what PR people are paid to do? Create and control a celebrities fake image to the fans and public, Afflecks and Garners PR teams are some of the worst when it comes to image control. Rubin shouldn’t have been surprised he has been working in Hollywood a long time.

  22. mire usted! says:

    Ben Affleck’s comments have consistently generated a vitriol response from the public. He continuously pokes the bear and finds it “absurd” when it roars. The interviewer asked him if the amount of attention he gets is a blessing or a burden. Notice how HE inserts his “kids” into his answer. When he goes on a Sports show to discuss deflategate he mentions “my wife” (while he’s in the process of a highly publicized separation/divorce). Bill Simmons did NOT ask him anything about “his wife.” He does this constantly and then seems stunned by the tabloid attention and blames it on the “culture of celebrity” and “emerging technologies.” If he’s not doing well, I hope he gets better. I recognize this may be a very difficult time in his life. The good news is he has the financial means to take a break or at least reduce work and social settings to work on himself and family. He has to promote this film but do so in a limited manner. Oh, and reduce getting papped!

    There are several reasons BatmanvSuperman did not go over the desired billion dollar mark. His huge tabloid presence is an undeniable factor – not the only one, not the biggest one, but a factor. I’m sure he’ll continue to have great professional success in Hollywood. However, he needs a good PR team. He speaks to the public recklessly. His comments are infuriating at times but I’m worried about him. The Accountant looks interesting. Hopefully Live By Night will be as great as his other films.