Ben Affleck Addresses Harvey Weinstein Scandal, Sexual Misconduct Allegations

The Justice League star spoke out against the ongoing sexual harassment and assault accusations rocking Hollywood.

Visiting The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Nov. 16, 2017, Ben Affleck answered host Stephen Colbert's questions about the sexual misconduct allegations made against Harvey Weinstein, who'd produced many of the actor's early films. "Now, the person who made [Good Will Hunting] for you, the person who started your career, was Harvey Weinstein," Colbert stated.

"This is a comedy show, correct?" Affleck replied, nervously laughing.

"This is a comedy show, but we also talk about the subject of the moment, what the national conversation's about," Colbert explained. "After the revelations—the disturbing and just truly horrifying revelations about what Harvey Weinstein did—did you feel, because you had such a close association with him at the beginning of your career, that you had to do more than simply distance yourself from Harvey Weinstein? Because everybody ran for the exits."

"Yes, and understandably so," responded Affleck, who'd previously been called out by former co-star Rose McGowan for his alleged knowledge of Weinstein's inappropriate behavior. "You know, for me, it was awful to see the extent of these terrible crimes. It was hideous. I haven't worked for Harvey for more than 15 years, but nonetheless, I felt this attachment. I did movies like Good Will Hunting, Shakespeare in Love, and Chasing Amy—early movies that I really loved doing, when I still was, you know, totally brand new. And so, it sort of tainted that a little bit to realize while we were having these experiences and making these movies, there were people who were suffering and dealing with awful experiences. I didn't really know what to do with that, you know? It's hard to know."

The 45-year-old noted that he still receives residuals from his early Weinstein-produced projects but that he feels uncomfortable keeping the money. So, rather than deposit those checks in the bank, Affleck has chosen to donate the money to organizations like RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and Film Independent.

But Affleck didn't only talk about Weinstein's scandal during his late night appearance. He also addressed the sexual misconduct allegations made against him. As Nicki Swift previously reported, One Tree Hill actress and former TRL VJ Hilarie Burton accused Affleck of groping her during an interview.

"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 apologize for it," said Affleck, who'd indeed apologized to Burton hours after she'd tweeted out about the allegation. "I certainly don't think she's lying or making it up."

"It's just the kind of thing we have to, as men, I think, as we become more aware of this, be really, really mindful of our behavior 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 uncomfortable or awkward or strange encounters we might have had where we're sort of navigating and not knowing," Affleck continued. "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 there is a way of reporting this stuff so that people can feel safe doing it."

Affleck also admitted to not understanding exactly what women often experience on a daily basis, particularly in Hollywood. "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. I didn't understand what it's like to be groped, to be harassed, to be interrupted, talked over, paid less, you know, pushed around, belittled—all the things that women deal with, that for me as a man, I have the privilege of not having to deal with," he explained. "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 that 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 for my actions."

As Nicki Swift previously reported, Weinstein's alleged behavior of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape was exposed by both The New York Times and The New Yorker in early October. Since then, dozens of women have come forward, accusing the Miramax co-founder of inappropriate conduct. As a result of the allegations, Weinstein's wife left him, The Weinstein Company fired him, and several police departments opened investigations into the alleged incidents of sexual misconduct.

Several other men have also been called out in Hollywood for similar behavior, including Brett Ratner, James Toback, and Kevin Spacey.