Recently with the numerous allegations of sexual harassment and assault made towards Harvey Weinstein, it seems like Hollywood has faced much more pressure to address the experiences of alleged victims. In fact, it appears that this new change has extended towards other well-known celebrities, who must now address their accusers and the weight of the allegations against them. The newest such addition towards the more carefully examined elite is none other than famous actor Ben Affleck. Some time ago, he was the perpetrator in an incident against Hilarie Burton in which he groped her. According to CNN, the instance which was even recorded on camera and broadcasted as she performed her role as co-host for the show Total Request Live.
Though there was little to no redress at the time, it seems like Burton’s story is finally being told for what it is: a troubling instance of sexual assault. It’s an especially troubling occurrence, as there was immediate and outright documentation of assault without any repercussions for Affleck.
Notably, audiences are criticizing Affleck now, as he attempted to distance himself once-partner Weinstein for his allegations of sexual misconduct. While the actor expressed his disdain towards Weinstein and his support towards the producer’s alleged victims, many noticed the discrepancies between his statement and his actions in the past.
— Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) October 10, 2017
Affleck’s hypocrisy serves to highlight a huge issue in Hollywood culture, namely that alleged victims will not receive justice, even with established and easily viewable proof of misconduct. Furthermore, the fact that he postures to say that he wants to determine how to prevent such misconduct from happening to others despite his documented assault shows that the actor has not seemed to accept responsibility for his actions or even potentially believe that he has acted wrongly. While many men in Hollywood have denounced Weinstein, it’s important to examine one’s own behavior as well to ensure that a safe environment exists on all levels, a lesson which Affleck is hopefully finally learning. He issued an apology earlier today on Twitter.
I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize
— Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) October 11, 2017
Though Affleck did acknowledge that he was in the wrong, the fact remains that this is the first documented statement from the actor in response to his actions, one which was spurred only after users on the website criticized his past. Furthermore, it’s important to discuss whether or not a one sentence apology, issued many years after the incident, is even enough. Burton, who interacted with a supporter on Twitter, bravely and generously expressed her own feelings on the occurrence.
I didn’t forget.
— Hilarie Burton (@HilarieBurton) October 10, 2017
Burton’s response is especially heart-breaking. The fact that until now, Affleck faced almost no repercussions or even acknowledgment towards his misconduct is especially important to note right now.