Ben Affleck Breaks Down What Men, Himself Included, Need To Do Better

“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."

Ben Affleck called for men, himself included, to be more accountable as he discussed recent sexual misconduct scandals on Thursday’s “Late Show.”

During a lengthy interview with host Stephen Colbert, the “Justice League” star addressed the allegations made against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, an accusation made against himself, male privilege and his recent backfired comment about sexual harassment.

Affleck described the claims made against Weinstein as “awful” and “hideous,” and said they’d tainted the memory of his early movies that he’d worked on with the producer. He also reiterated his pledge to donate future profits from his Weinstein or Miramax projects to charities helping the victims of sexual assault.

Regarding allegations made by Hilarie Burton, who has said that Affleck grabbed her breast during a 2003 “Total Request Live” interview, the actor responded:

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 apologized for it. I certainly don’t think she’s lying or making it up.

Affleck said it was “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.’”

He did not address makeup artist Annamarie Tendler’s claim that he groped her at a Golden Globes party in 2014. 

With regard to a recent “Justice League” press tour interview during which he appeared to joke about sexual harassment, Affleck said:

It was a serious question and I kind of felt uncomfortable, and didn’t know what to say and laughed awkwardly. It’s a tricky thing to try to handle. I think the most important thing to do is to support the voices 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 so that people can feel safe doing it.

On the issue of male privilege, Affleck said he thought he’d had “a sense of the scope of the problem and I thought I understood it, and the truth is I really didn’t.” He continued:

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.

“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 it’s a real thing,” Affleck said.

“I’m not a spokesman, I’m not a superhero, I can’t change it by myself,” he added. “I can just be accountable for myself and for my actions.”

Check out the full interview below: