During a recent interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Ben Affleck discussed the recent sexual harassment controversies in Hollywood and beyond. Ben Affleck suggests a way to create change regarding this issue. It's an idea that's desperately needed, but is only the first step that men must take in order to create true, lasting change in society.
On the Nov. 16 episode of the late night show, host Stephen Colbert didn't hold back as he asked the Justice League actor questions regarding the many sexual harassment allegations within the entertainment industry, including an accusation against Affleck from actor Hilarie Burton, who described the situation in a Twitter thread. Colbert asked him, "Do you think there's more that you or all men, especially in Hollywood have to do to make sure that this isn't a passing thing?" Affleck responded with:
"I think so." He then offered up another apology to Burton before continuing, "It's just the kind of thing that 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. I want to be part of the solution.’”
Indeed, it is important to take note of. It's imperative that men take accountability for their actions and vow to change as a result of taking accountability. The goal would obviously be for men to cease this kind of behavior entirely. There won't be any change within the industry, or society in general, if these men continue to act like this. So, taking accountability is a first step in making that change happen, Affleck's correct on that. But it should go much further than that. It shouldn't just be a change through someone's speech but also through their actions. In the Affleck's case, he should be mindful of this important first step himself, seeing as though his recent actions suggest that he hasn't taken his own words to heart.
In response to the sexual harassment allegations aimed at Harvey Weinstein, Affleck published a lengthy message on Twitter to say that he was "saddened and angry" that Weinstein would use his power to allegedly commit these acts against women.
This prompted a user on the social media site to bring up an allegation by Burton that described the actor as having hugged her and grabbing her breasts. She responded to the user and said, "I didn't forget" about the alleged incident.
Affleck once again took to Twitter, only a day after he came out against Weinstein allegedly committing indecent acts and responded to the accusation with:
His call to action, which included a message saying that behavior was "unacceptable", was drowned out by his own harassment allegation. How can one believe the message from someone who has engaged in that negative behavior himself?
After Affleck's accountability of his act toward Burton, it would only make sense that he would have learned something from it and vowed to change after, like he described in his interview with Colbert. Alas, during an interview with MTV for Justice League with the rest of the cast, one of Affleck's comments during the interview showed that he didn't exactly learn from it. When the cast was asked who they would add to their crew, they named many female superheroes like Supergirl and Zatana. They were then asked how they feel the dynamic would change as a result of them being on the team. Ray Fisher said that "it would create a different dynamic," but was cut off when Affleck then said, "You following the news at all?" and followed it with a chuckle, likely in reference to the sexual harassment accusations within the industry.
Affleck did offer up an explanation for the awkward moment during the same Colbert interview and said, "I kind of, it was a serious question and I kind of felt uncomfortable and didn't know what to say and laughed awkwardly and it's just a tricky thing to try and handle." It's good to see the actor realizing that it was viewed as an insensitive moment, but it's still unfortunate that he said it at all, especially in light of his previous apology and statement rightly denouncing Weinstein.
While Affleck's comments during the Colbert interview calling for accountability and change do ring true, it's hard to see that the actor is even following his own advice. It's possible that the actor's interview was a turning point for him and that he will do better concerning sexual harassment. And it's incredibly important that he does.