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Ben Affleck apologizes for groping Hilarie Burton in 2003

Los Angeles Times

A day after condemning Harvey Weinstein's behavior, Ben Affleck said he was sorry Wednesday for groping actress and producer Hilarie Burton on camera in 2003 when she was a host on MTV’s “Total Request Live.”

“I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize,” Affleck tweeted.

In a statement Tuesday, the actor-director said Weinstein's conduct made him “sick,” only to be called out on social media by Rose McGowan and others, including one Twitter user who brought up the 2003 incident involving Burton.

“This is completely unacceptable, and I find myself asking what I can do to make sure this doesn't happen to others,” Affleck said in the Tuesday statement.

McGowan had promptly accused Affleck of lying, tweeting at him, “‘I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT’ you said that to my face. The press conf I was made to go to after assault. You lie.”

McGowan reached a six-figure settlement with Weinstein in 1997, when she was 23, linked to an incident in a hotel room at the Cannes Film Festival, according to the New York Times exposé that opened the accusation floodgates last week.

As for Burton, on Tuesday, after noting that she “was a kid” when Affleck groped her, she tweeted, "Girls. I'm so impressed with you brave ones" and included a link to an “MTV TRL Uncensored” video in which she talks about Affleck grabbing her left breast. “I had to laugh back then so I wouldn’t cry. Sending love,” Burton said.

Affleck has worked on 17 projects connected to Miramax, including “Good Will Hunting,” which brought him his first Oscar and counts Weinstein brothers Bob and Harvey as executive producers.

In addition to what appeared on “MTV’s TRL Uncensored,” there is a video floating around from 2004 in which Affleck pulls Montreal TV host Anne-Marie Losique onto his lap during an interview, holds her close, tickles her, comments extensively on her breasts and makes fun of people who have cerebral palsy.

“What I want to do is sit down and talk. Let’s just talk. It doesn't have to be about sex all the time. All you want to do is have sex all the time ...,” he jokes as she giggles — seemingly uncomfortably — through the end of the on-camera encounter. “You don’t listen to what I have say. ... It hurts my feelings. I feel used and exploited. I feel undervalued and objectified by you.”

A spokesperson for Affleck did not respond immediately to a request for comment.


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