Oscar-winner Ben Affleck has apologized to actress Hilarie Burton for groping her on live television in the 2000s.
“I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize,” Affleck, 45, tweeted Wednesday. Burton at the time was a host of the MTV music show “Total Request Live.” The countdown show, which aired Monday through Thursday from 1998 until 2008, returned in a modified version to the network on Oct. 2.
On Tuesday, actor and filmmaker Affleck — who won an Academy Award with Matt Damon for writing “Good Will Hunting” (1997) and another as a best-picture producer of “Argo” (2012) — had posted a reaction to the ongoing allegations that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein had sexually abused actresses and employees for decades. “I am saddened and angry that a man who I worked with used his position of power to intimidate, sexually harass and manipulate many women over decades,” Affleck wrote on Facebook.
“The additional allegations of assault that I read this morning made me sick,” he continued. “This is completely unacceptable, and I find myself asking what I can do to make sure this doesn’t happen to others. We need to do better at protecting our sisters, friends, co-workers and daughters. We must support those who come forward, condemn this type of behavior when we see it and help ensure there are more women in positions of power.”
Shortly afterward, a young woman tweeting as Shanice Brim posted, “He also grabbed Hilarie Burton’s breasts on ‘TRL’ once. Everyone forgot though.”
“I didn’t forget,” Burton, 35, responded.
“I’m so sorry that happened to you,” Brim replied.
“Seriously, thank you for that. I was a kid,” Burton replied.
IMDb lists Affleck as having appeared on the show on Nov. 26, 2002, and on March 8, 2004, when Burton was in her early 20s.
The actress, who went on to star on “One Tree Hill” and more recently in an arc of the series “Lethal Weapon,” went on to say, “Girls. I’m so impressed with you brave ones. I had to laugh back then so I wouldn’t cry. Sending love.”
Also Wednesday, new attention was drawn to a previously available clip from the Montreal entertainment-news show “Box Office” from around the same time. In it, host Anne-Marie Losique sits playfully on Affleck’s lap, giggling on camera as he makes a long string of suggestive remarks. Losique told the Los Angeles Times in 2001 that this was a running gag between them. “It’s something that started a long time ago. Now I’m always on his lap,” she said. “I don’t have to prepare anything. It’s very easy. But I never get to ask him any questions. Never in five years.”