It’s been more than a month since Ben Affleck publicly apologized for groping Hilarie Burton during a 2003 episode of TRL. However, the incident — which came to light after countless actresses made sexual assault allegations against Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein — was brought up again when Ben, 45, stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote his new film Justice League.
While he initially appeared uncomfortable, the actor let his guard down and candidly addressed the controversial moment — and issued another apology. “I don’t remember it, but I absolutely apologize for it. I certainly don’t think she’s lying or making it up. It’s just the kind of thing, as men, as we become more aware of this, we have 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 part of the solution,’” Ben said. “And not shy away from these uncomfortable or awkward or strange encounters we might have had.”
Hilarie, with co-host La La Anthony, and Ben on TRL in 2003. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
The Oscar winner, who is in a relationship with Saturday Night Live producer Lindsay Shookus, went on to say that he thinks it’s important for those who work in the industry to “support the voices that are coming forward, believe them, and create a business where more women are empowered…so less of this happens.”
Though he plays Batman onscreen, Ben did admit that he’s “not a superhero,” but would still like to lend his help to those who’ve fallen victim to the sexual misconduct epidemic in Hollywood. “I can’t change it by myself,” the dad-of-three — who shares kids Violet, 11, Seraphina, 8, and Samuel, 5, with ex-wife Jennifer Garner — said. “I can just be accountable for myself and for my actions.”
Girls. I’m so impressed with you brave ones. I had to laugh back then so I wouldn’t cry. Sending love.
— Hilarie Burton (@HilarieBurton) October 11, 2017
As previously reported, Hilarie, 35, claimed Ben inappropriately touched her breasts — a moment that was caught on camera — after a fan accused the Gone Girl star of being hypocritical in his condemnation of 65-year-old Harvey’s actions. “I didn’t forget … I was a kid,” the One Tree Hill alum tweeted on Oct. 11, later sharing the throwback clip. “He comes over and tweaks my left boob…I had to laugh back then so I wouldn’t cry. Sending love.” Hours after Hilarie’s posts made headlines, Ben said sorry in a tweet: “I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize.”