Ben Affleck should be swimming in positive press right now. The filmmaker is headlining what is sure to be one of the biggest films of the year, November’s “Justice League” — but everyone is more interested at the moment in allegations against the actor from multiple women involving inappropriate touching.
The timing of the allegations could not be worse: They’re right in the midst of the Harvey Weinstein scandal . The former mega-producer has been accused by multiple women of harassment and even rape, and the story has inspired others to come forward with their own accounts of sexual misconduct experienced over their careers in Hollywood.
Affleck actually began his career with Weinstein. The producer backed many of Affleck's original efforts as an actor, such as "Chasing Amy," "Good Will Hunting," "Phantoms," and many other projects.
Affleck released a statement regarding revelations about Weinstein's behavior — which began the backlash against the actor.
After the release of his public statement, actress and former co-star Rose McGowan lashed out on Twitter and accused Affleck of being fully aware of Weinstein's mistreatment of women over the years, specifically of McGowan.
"'GOD****it! I told him to stop doing that' you said that to my face. The press [conference] I was made to go to after assault. You lie," McGowan tweeted. The actress was revealed to be one of eight women who received payouts from Weinstein to remain quiet about his harassment and/or assaults on them.
McGowan starred in the film "Phantoms" with Affleck, which was released by Miramax (co-founded and co-owned by Weinstein then), in 1998. McGowan later tweeted "f*** off" at Affleck — and her account was temporarily suspended by Twitter.
Another response to Affleck's statement was from a Twitter user who brought up an appearance by Affleck on MTV's "Total Request Live" in 2003. In that appearance, he allegedly touched host Hilarie Burton in an inappropriate manner.
"[Affleck] also grabbed Hilarie Burton's breast on 'TRL' once. Everyone forgot though," the user wrote. Burton herself responded to the tweet with "I didn't forget."
A video can actually be found of the encounter, and it's clear Affleck makes Burton uncomfortable. His specific touch can't be fully seen and it's difficult to tell whether he meant to touch her in such a way or not — but it certainly doesn't look good in light of the ongoing revelations of sexual misconduct in Hollywood.
Affleck jumped to Twitter after the video began going viral and apologized to Burton. "I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize," he wrote.
The apology has now gotten him in more trouble.
"I would also love to get an apology from Ben Affleck who grabbed my a** at a Golden Globes party in 2014," tweeted makeup artist Annamarie Tendler in response.
"He walked by me, cupped my butt and pressed his finger into my crack," Tendler wrote, adding, "I guess he tried to play it like he was politely moving me out of the way and oops touched my butt instead of my lower back?"
She continued, "Like most women in these situations I didn't say anything but I have thought a lot about what I'd say if I ever saw him again."
Comedy writer Jen Statsky, who has written for television programs such as "Broad City" and "The Tonight Show," then corroborated this experience by tweeting, "I was also at this party and multiple friends had this same exact experience."