Sexual abuse has been an insidious problem that's existed on movie sets
Hollywood named and shamed Harvey Weinstein for sexual asssault and rape allegations made by more than two dozen women but it hardly feels like we're done talking about sexual abuse in the movie industry.
After all, sexual abuse has been an insidious problem that's existed on movie sets, in the four walls of an executive's room, at red carpet events among other places. For long, the movie industry has stayed silent, enabling an atmosphere for abuse that's long existed.
But something seems to have changed. Celebrities have started to come out and name Hollywood's predators. The latest among them is Harvey Weinstein's close friend, Ben Affleck.
In the days after Weinstein's sexual misconduct was brought to light, Ben Affleck's murky past became a subject of discussion. It began with a tweet by one user. She said Affleck groped MTV TRL host Hilarie Burton's breast on camera in 2003 and the world seems to have forgotten it. A few minutes later, Burton replied saying she hasn't forgotten. She had to laugh back then so she wouldn't cry.
Affleck soon came to be known as the next Hollywood celebrity who used his privilege to grope women, behave inappropriately, and never issue an apology for it. If the Batman actor had watched TRL then, he would have known that Burton was clearly affected by the encounter.
In fact, she told cameras later that she preferred a high-five to a little "tweakage". But nothing happened. No apology came her way.
Even if Affleck hadn't watched the episode that aired on MTV, he knew that his action was non-consensual. But it took him many years to say sorry. To be exact, it took him 14 years and a few hours until the video surfaced in light of Weinstein's sexual misconduct.
On October 10, he tweeted saying, "I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize."
Hours later, make up artist Annamarie Tendler tweeted that she was harassed by him at the Golden Globes red carpet in 2014. She said she would love to hear an apology too but there's been silence from the actor's end.
Another a video of him asking Canadian TV host Anne Marie Losique to take off her top surfaced online and the actor hasn't commented on it.
However, Losique came out in defense of Affleck and said it was staged for the camera. She told The Hollywood Reporter that the video was taken out of context.
"As soon as the cameras stopped rolling, we would [walk] out because you know on junket days where they do interviews after interviews after interviews, so it was just a little fun moment," Losique said.
But her defense of Affleck doesn't mask the fact that the actor touched other women without their consent; it doesn't hide the fact that he apologized for his actions only after it became public knowledge.
If anything, Affleck's late apology and the alegations against him have exposed a side to the actor that we've rarely seen. In public, he takes a stand for women but little does it reflect in his private life.
He prefers to silence a woman who's been sexually assaulted and feign ignorance about it later
This was evidenced by Rose McGowen, one of Weinstein's accusers. She sent a barrage of angry tweets claiming Affleck knew about Weinstein's sexual misconduct but never spoke about it, just like he never issued an apology to Burton for 14 years.
Perhaps Affleck doesn't feel pressured enough to apologize to McGown or to Tendler. After all, none of his friends in Hollywood have spoken against him.
His best friend, Matt Damon hasn't reacted to Burton, McGowan or Tendler's stories. Affleck is still a part of a Hollywood circle that's tightly knit.
He's still going to feature in the Justice League movies. However, he would do well to learn from Weinstein, the man who was one of the biggest power players in the movie industry. His spectacular downfall made him a pariah in Hollywood and we're compelled to think if Affleck will be next.
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