While making an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Thursday night, the actor got candid about male privilege and his own sexual harassment transgressions, spelling out how he and other men can help better support women.
"I thought I had a sense of the scope of the problem and I thought I understood it and the truth is I really didn't," he revealed to the talk show host. "I didn't understand what it's like to be groped, to be harassed, to be interrupted, talked over, paid less, you know, pushed around, belittled: all the things that women deal with, for me as a man, I have the privilege of not having to deal with."
He continued: "Part of this for me has been listening to people I really care about and love as they tell me stories of stuff that has happened to them, this is men and women, and recognizing it's a real thing. I'm not spokesman, I'm not a superhero, I can't change it by myself. I can just be accountable for myself and my actions."
The conversation then turned to Hilarie Burton's revelation that Affleck groped her during an appearance on TRL. " I don't remember it, but I absolutely apologized for it," the dad of three confirmed. "I certainly don't think she's lying or making it up. It's just the kind of thing we have to as men, as we become more aware of this, be more 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.'"
Accepting male privilege and changing reckless behavior is no easy feat, but Affleck has some advice for men in the entertainment industry. "I think the most important thing to do is to support the voices coming forward, believe them, and create a business where more women are empowered and in place so less of this happens," he suggested. "And so that there is a way of reporting this stuff so that people can feel safe doing it."
We commend you for your efforts, Ben!