Stephen Colbert asked Ben Affleck about his past sexual misconduct – last month, the actor apologized for groping Hilarie Burton on camera in 2003 – and his reaction to the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations on The Late Show on Thursday. Good Will Hunting, the film that launched Affleck to stardom, was released by Miramax, a company co-founded by Weinstein.
“What I was accused of by a woman was touching her breast while I gave her a hug,” Affleck told Colbert. “I don’t remember it, but I absolutely apologize for it. I certainly don’t think she’s lying or making it up.”
He continued, “As men, I think as we become more aware of this we need to be 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 a part of the solution.'” This statement echoes comments the actor made earlier this month.
When asked about Weinstein, Affleck said “it was awful to see the extent of [his] terrible crimes and it was hideous.” Affleck has decided to donate residuals from movies he made for Miramax early in his career – Chasing Amy, Good Will Hunting, Shakespeare in Love – to charitable organizations. “I thought I understood the extent of the problem, and I thought I had a handle on it,” Affleck told Colbert. “The truth is, I really didn’t. I didn’t understand what it was to be groped, to be harassed, to be interrupted, talked over, paid less, pushed around, belittled, all of the things that women deal with that for me as a man I have the privilege of not having to deal with.”
The actor also offered vague ideas about reforming Hollywood to prevent abuse in the industry. “The most important thing to do is to support the voices coming forward, believe them and create a business where women are empowered so less of this happens and where there is a way of reporting this stuff,” Affleck said.
Colbert did not ask the actor about Rose McGowan, the actress who accused Affleck of lying about his knowledge of Weinstein’s alleged sexual assaults. However, Affleck dodged questions about McGowan’s comments on Today. “I don’t really want to get into other people’s individual stories, because I feel like those are their stories and they’re entitled to tell as much or as little of those as they want,” he told Savannah Guthrie. “I believe Rose, I support her, I really like and admire her tenacity and I wish her the best.”
Affleck is doing the rounds in support of the new movie Justice League, which opens on Friday.