Ben Affleck appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Thursday, and like many actors in recent weeks, the star was asked about the huge number of sexual assault and harassment allegations that have been leveled at many of Hollywood's top names. In response, the actor shared that he hopes the allegations will alert people to just how extensive the problem is.
"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," he 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 that I care about and love as they tell me stories of stuff that's happened to them (this is men and women) and realizing this is a real thing," Affleck continued. "I'm not a spokesperson, I'm not a superhero, I can't change it by myself. I can just be accountable for myself and for my actions."
Affleck also discussed the allegations that he himself received from One Tree Hill star Hilarie Burton, who claimed that Affleck groped her while she was hosting TRL in 2003. After Burton made her allegations, Affleck apologized to Burton on Twitter, writing, "I acted inappropriately towards Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize."
He further addressed the matter on The Late Show, explaining that he feels men should be more aware of and held accountable for their actions.
"What I was accused of by a woman was touching her breast while I gave her a hug. I don't remember it but I absolutely apologize for it," Affleck said. "I certainly don't think she's lying or making it up. It's just the kind of thing 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 and be part of the solution.' "
"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 place so less of this happens and so there is a way of reporting this stuff that people can feel safe doing," he added.
Photo Credit: YouTube / The Late Show with Stephen Colbert