Ben Affleck got grilled by Stephen Colbert on Thursday's Late Show.
The Justice League star showed up on the late-night program to plug his new superhero movie, but ended up having to address the sexual harassment and assault allegations against Good Will Hunting producer Harvey Weinstein as well as sexual misconduct claims made against him by actress Hilarie Burton.
“This is a comedy show, correct?” the Oscar winner quipped, before agreeing with Colbert that the Weinstein scandal has launched a national conversation about sexual harassment and assault.
“For me, it was awful to see the extent of these terrible crimes, and it was hideous,” Affleck said. “I haven’t worked for Harvey for more than 15 years, but nonetheless I felt this attachment. I did movies like Good Will Hunting and Shakespeare in Love and Chasing Amy and some of the early movies that I really loved doing when I still was totally brand new. It sort of tainted that a little bit to realize that while we were having these experiences and making those movies there were people who were suffering and dealing with awful experiences.”
The A-lister added that after news of Weinstein’s alleged behavior came out, he didn’t know what to do and decided to give back all of the residuals he receives from Miramax films to the charities RAINN and Film Independent “because I didn’t’ want to cash a check from the guy.”
Colbert also brought up the allegations against Affleck of “sexual impropriety.” While Affleck did not acknowledge actress Rose McGowan’s claims that she told him about Weinstein’s alleged assault on her, he did address Burton's allegations that he groped her during an appearance on MTV's Total Request Live.
“I was accused of by a woman, touching her breasts while I gave her a hug,” Affleck said of the alleged incident. “I don’t remember it, but I absolutely apologize for it. I certainly don’t think she’s lying or making it up.”
The 45-year-old actor went on to acknowledge that he and all men have a responsibility to be “mindful” of their behavior, declaring, “If I was ever part of the problem, I want to change and be part of the solution.”
Affleck further noted that he’s still figuring out how to navigate the issue. “I think the most important thing to do is support the voices coming forward, believe them, and create a business where more women are empowered and in a place so less of this happens and so there’s a way of reporting this stuff so people can feel safe doing," he said.
He also admitted that he didn’t fully comprehend the scope of the problem. “I thought I had a sense of the scope of the problem and I thought I understood it and the truth is, I really didn’t,” Affleck said. “I didn’t understand what it’s like to be groped, harassed, to be interrupted, talked over, paid less, pushed around, belittled -- all the things that women deal with that for me, as a man, I had 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’s happened to them – this is men and women – and recognizing that this is a real thing," he continued. “I’m not a spokesman. I’m not a superhero. I can’t change it by myself. I can just be accountable for myself and for my actions."
While he didn't address McGowan claiming that he knew about her allegations against Weinstein on The Late Show, Affleck did talk about his Phantoms co-star when he appeared on Friday's Today show. “I don’t really want to get into other people’s individual stories because I feel like those are their stories and they are entitled to tell as much or as little of those as they want," he said. "I believe Rose, I support her, I really like and admire her tenacity and wish her the best."
As allegations came out against Affleck following the Weinstein scandal, many pointed to an on-camera interview he did with Canadian reporter Anne-Marie Losique from 2004 where she was seated on his lap. When speaking with ET exclusively about the incident, Losique cleared up any misconceptions.
Here's a look at ET's interview with the reporter: