Harvey Weinstein was considered one of the biggest names in the movie industry but a lengthy New York Times investigation resulted in some bombshell allegations this week, which led to his removal from his own production company.
ABC News has published an article detailing the stories of 17 accusers. Some of the women who have come forward include Gwenyth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Mira Sorvino, and Rose McGowan. When Paltrow told her then-boyfriend, Brad Pitt, about being sexually harassed, Pitt reportedly confronted Weinstein and threatened to give him a “Missouri ass whooping” if he did anything like that again.
People have applauded Pitt’s reaction, even if it didn’t involve encouraging Paltrow to report the harassment. At the very least, it showed condemnation for his actions, many have argued.
On the surface, it would appear that Ben Affleck, a prominent male figure in Hollywood, has attempted to send the same message by issuing the following statement:
I am saddened and angry that a man who I worked with used his position of power to intimidate, sexually harass and manipulate many women over decades. The additional allegations of assault that I read this morning made me sick. This is completely unacceptable, and I find myself asking what I can do to make sure this doesn’t happen to others. We need to do better at protecting our sisters, friends, co-workers and daughters. We must support those who come forward, condemn this type of behavior when we see it and help ensure there are more women in positions of power.
Honorable words. At a time like this, when victims everywhere are encouraged to see others rallying around these women, it’s important for men to step forward to also speak out against this sort of violence.
One person who directly challenged Affleck’s sincerity was McGowan who, initially, responded by tweeting, “Ben Affleck f- off.”
Why the hate? When the actress was 23 years old, she experienced an “episode in a hotel room at the Sundance Film Festival” with Harvey Weinstein. Forced to immediately go to a press conference, she confided in Affleck at the event. In a tweet, she shared her account of his response: “”GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT” you said that to my face. The press conf I was made to go to after assault. You lie.””
Not wanting to make assumptions, the New York Times reached out to McGowan by email and asked her if she was “asserting that Mr. Affleck knew about Mr. Weinstein’s mistreatment of her because she had told him, and that she was accusing Mr. Affleck of lying because his statement did not acknowledge awareness of Mr. Weinstein’s behavior.”
Her reply? “I’m saying exactly that.” Wow!
Meanwhile, Hilarie Burton recounted her own experience with Ben Affleck. On Twitter, a user wrote, “He also grabbed Hilarie Burton’s breasts on TRL once. Everyone forgot though.” Burton replied, “I didn’t forget” prompting the fan to say, “I’m so sorry that happened to you. It’s infuriating that people never bring up all the gross, predatory things he’s done.”
“Seriously, thank you for that. I was a kid,” Burton said before adding, “Girls. I’m so impressed with you brave ones. I had to laugh back then so I wouldn’t cry. Sending love.”
The alleged incident took place when Burton was 19 and hosting the MTV show where Affleck was a guest. In footage from the encounter, Affleck is seen suddenly leaning forward and putting his arm around Burton who says he squeezed her left breast before pulling away. The 35-year-old actress is currently expecting her second child with The Walking Dead star, Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
It’s certainly interesting given the fact that so many rumors swirled around Affleck as his marriage to Jennifer Garner broke down. He allegedly had an affair with their nanny. He also reportedly carried on an extramarital relationship with Saturday Night Live producer, Lindsay Shookus, whom he is currently dating.
Additionally, his younger brother, Casey Affleck, was accused of sexual harassment and provided a monetary settlement to two women. His wife has filed for divorce (but hasn’t commented on the reasons for the split) and actress, Brie Larsen, refused to clap for or acknowledge him when he won the Oscar award she presented.