Stephen Colbert asked Ben Affleck some pretty tough questions about Harvey Weinstein and his own sexual misconduct scandal during Thursday night’s episode of the “Late Show.”
The Boston-bred actor stopped by the late-night program to chat about his return as Batman in the superhero blockbuster “Justice League,” which debuts in theaters this weekend. However, the conversation quickly took a turn towards the various stories about sexual harassment that have come to light in Hollywood, including Affleck’s alleged groping of “One Tree Hill” actress and former “TRL” star Hilarie Burton.
The two-time Oscar winner didn’t shy away from the questions and reiterated his apology to Burton over the 2003 incident.
“What I was accused of by a woman was of touching her breast while I gave her a hug,” Affleck told Colbert. “I don’t remember it, but I absolutely apologized for it. I certainly don’t think she’s lying or making it up. It’s just the kind of thing that 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 that we might’ve had where we were sort of navigating and not knowing.”
Affleck added, “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 that there is a way of reporting this stuff that people can feel safe doing it.”
Earlier in the interview, Colbert asked Affleck about Weinstein, as the now disgraced movie mogul’s company Miramax distributed “Good Will Hunting,” which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and earned Affleck and Matt Damon their first Oscar awards.
“It was awful to see the extent of these terrible crimes and it was hideous,” Affleck said. “I had felt this attachment to movies like ‘Good Will Hunting,’ ‘Shakespeare in Love’ and ‘Chasing Amy,’ some of the early movies that I really loved doing when I was still totally brand new. It sort of tainted that a little bit to realize that while we were making these movies and having these experiences, there were people who were suffering and dealing with awful experiences.”
Affleck told the late-night host that he’s giving his residuals from the movies he worked on with Weistein to organizations such as RAINN and Film Independent.
The actor ended the interview by urging men to listen and believe the experiences of women, as well as to hold themselves and each other accountable for their actions.
“I’m not a spokesman. I’m not a superhero. I can’t change it by myself,” Affleck said. “I can just be accountable for myself and for my actions.”