Yesterday while reporting on Ben Affleck I included a clip of an interview he did in 2004 when he drunkenly groped a Canadian interviewer, had her sit on his lap, talked about her breasts and tickled her. At 4:50 into that interview he said “I just want to talk. All you want to do is have sex all the time.” (I remembered that interview after learning that he’d grabbed then 18 year-old Hilarie Burton’s breast on Total Request Live in 2003.) Well the interviewer, a woman named Anne-Marie Losique, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter and said that it was taken out of context, that it was a “game” and that he didn’t touch her when the cameras weren’t rolling. I think someone called in some favors to get her to say that, although it’s possible she doesn’t want to be part of the conversation and/or believes that the exchange was innocent. Even if Affleck had a relationship with Losique, that behavior at her job when she was supposed to be conducting an interview was wildly inappropriate.
The story about Affleck groping Burton’s breast on camera in 2001 got so much coverage that it was on the top of People Magazine’s site for some time. (Here’s a link to Hilarie’s exchange with another Twitter user about that. That’s just for context, we’ve already talked about it.)
After that tweet Burton embedded a video of the incident and wrote that she had to laugh to keep from crying. In fact laughing is often an automatic nervous response women have to unwanted advances and it’s hard to suppress, especially when it’s your job to act friendly on camera.
Affleck has since apologized and he didn’t go into detail, he just tweeted an apology as damage control probably, but at least he said something.
I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize
— Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) October 11, 2017
How about something a little stronger, like he’s mortified he grabbed her like that and regrets it or no woman should have to put up with that kind of violation? Remember the character limit on Twitter is higher now and he could have written more or just taken a screenshot of a note. I guess his publicist wasn’t available to craft a response for him. One thing that Affleck has not addressed is the fact that noted badass Rose McGowan, who has hinted for over a year that Harvey Weinstein raped her, called Ben out as a liar after his statement condemning Weinstein. She tweeted that he told her at the time that he warned Harvey to stop doing that. Ben has surely heard that McGowan called his bluff and doesn’t want to touch that accusation because it’s likely true.
Just yesterday a makeup artist named Annamarie Tendler tweeted that Affleck grabbed her butt while at a Golden Globes party in 2014, and it wasn’t a mistake as he put his finger in her crack. That’s disgusting and this seems to be part of a larger pattern for him. [via Vanity Fair]
In case people might assume that was an isolated incident (are they ever?) a writer named Jen Statsky (The Good Place, Broad City) has tweeted that her friends were also grabbed by Affleck at that same party:
I was also at this party and *multiple* friends had this same exact experience. https://t.co/GlSIllKqAJ
— Jen Statsky (@jenstatsky) October 11, 2017
So now we know of two cases of Ben’s horrible behavior caught on camera and at least one or more additional times in which he grabbed women at a party. Imagine how much he’s possibly done behind the scenes and what we’re going to hear about him next. Imagine how much shit is about to come out about other actors and Hollywood bigwigs grossly abusing their power by violating women. Affleck probably doesn’t think grabbing women’s boobs and butts or making them sit on his lap is a big deal because compared to what the other men in his industry do it’s nothing.
Will Affleck go to rehab now? Will he make a statement acknowledging his behavior was despicable? Grabbing and groping women is sexual assault and should not be trivialized. He’s canceled as far as I’m concerned.
The photos of Affleck in the ill-fitting jacket were taken yesterday outside of an outpatient recovery facility, which he visited for the third day in a row. I would say that he should visit a woman’s shelter to listen to their stories but he’d probably proposition them and try to feel their butts in the hallways. I’m being flip but it’s probably true. Credit: Backgrid, Getty