Ben Affleck is speaking out against sexual harassment in Hollywood amid Harvey Weinstein’s growing scandal (and likely similar scandals involving James Toback, Kevin Spacey and others), and admitted during a recent interview with The Associated Press that he wants to start the scrutiny with himself.
“[I’m] looking at my own behavior and addressing that and making sure I’m part of the solution,” he said Sunday during a chat about his upcoming film, Justice League.
In order for there to be positive change, he continued, there will need to be two major adjustments to the industry: “more women need to be pushed to power” and sexual harassment has to be “a men’s issue,” wherein men are calling each other out for inappropriate behavior.
Affleck has previously had to defend his own behavior after condemning Weinstein’s actions. His tweet proclaiming that he was “saddened and angry” about the news sparked fans to remind him of his own inappropriate behavior with women over the years.
Last month, Affleck apologized for groping actress Hilarie Burton on camera in 2003 while she was a host on MTV’s Total Request Live.
Another video which surfaced, of Affleck pulling Montreal TV host Anne-Marie Losique onto his lap during an interview in 2004, also drew criticism. Losique has since spoken out in defense of Affleck, saying that the actor had only grabbed her for show, but was otherwise a gentleman on set.
His Phantoms costar Rose McGowan took to Twitter to angrily accuse him of being silent about Weinstein’s alleged offenses against her and other women. Affleck’s close friend and collaborator Matt Damon, meanwhile, also revealed that he and Affleck were both aware of Gwyneth Paltrow’s alleged ordeal with Weinstein at the beginning of her career.
Affleck’s younger brother Casey has made headlines in recent years after it was revealed that two separate women filed sexual harassment lawsuits against him in conjunction with his 2010 film I’m Still Here. One woman claimed that Casey crawled into bed with her without her consent while she was asleep. The other alleged that Casey tried to pressure her to stay in his hotel room and “violently grabbed [her] arm” when she refused.
Both claims were settled out of court for an undisclosed amount in 2010. (Casey has repeatedly denied the allegations).
Critics pointed fingers at the Academy for ignoring the sexual harassment claims at last year’s Oscars (Casey won for Best Actor for his turn in Manchester by the Sea), and this year, thousands have signed a petition to keep Casey from presenting the Best Actress award at the 2018 Academy Awards.