Ben Affleck Didn't Realize Women Were Going Through 'Ugly & Disturbing' Things

Nov 17, 2017 at 12:52 p.m. ET
Image: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Oh, Ben Affleck. The A-lister who groped Hilarie Burton on live TV, got called out for it, apologized and then made callous jokes about the seemingly unending wave of sexual abuse allegations in Hollywood is now trying to save face. How? By pretending that he had no idea that Hollywood has always been a cesspool of rampant sexism and abuse for women, something literally everyone knew. OK, Ben.

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On Today, 48 whole hours after he was ripped apart online for acting like this is all a big ol' joke at a Justice League press junket, Affleck told host Savannah Guthrie about how exciting it is that he's finally opening his eyes to the abuse that has surrounded him for literally his entire career.

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"It certainly feels like a really important moment," he said. "It feels like a time when survivors are finding their voice and people are sort of — and I include myself in this — really discovering the terrible extent of this problem here in our country."

He also talked about working for Harvey Weinstein and how he knew that Weinstein behaved inappropriately, but he didn't do anything about that because it's what everyone did.

"I knew he was sleazy and kind of a bully, but unfortunately, that wasn't that uncommon," Affleck said. "I was brand new to Hollywood, 24 years old. I had never made a movie; I didn't know much of anything really. And, you know, it really is a shame because although I stopped working with Harvey a long time ago, those movies hold a special kind of place in my heart and to now look back on it and think like, 'Gosh, some other people were going through something really ugly and disturbing (experiences)."

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To recap: Affleck, who says he's just now learning about this problem, also didn't do anything about this problem over the course of his career because it was a normal part of his everyday life. Is your head exploding yet? Because mine is.

And of course, Affleck reflected oh-so-thoughtfully on his own glaringly obvious (to everyone but himself) complicity in all this by saying he would have changed some of his past behaviors, you know, all the way back when he was a dumb kid in 2003 who literally groped a woman on live TV.

"There's plenty of jokes I wouldn't have made or things I wouldn't have done," said Affleck, who joked about sexual assault during a taped interview less than two days ago. "It's just a time when... there's just a heightened level of awareness, and that means one of the good things about that is the self-consciousness of, 'How am I fitting into the world here? How are my actions affecting other people? How is this interaction going to leave this person feeling?'"

He continued, "It's easy to sort of gloss over that stuff and get self-involved. The hard thing is to really, as I said, be mindful and live in the present moment."

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God forbid you should be self-involved, Ben. No irony in that comment. None at all.

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