Unfortunately it has seemed lately like every month there is a new story breaking about a high level male celebrity or producer that has abused his influence to mistreat women. The media giant Harvey Weinstein recently made headlines all around the world after a woman released a tape of him harassing her, but we will tell you more on that later. Ben Affleck is currently under fire for his commentary on the incident which was deemed by many to be rather hypocritical considering his past.
Ben's big mistake happened in 2003 when the actor was 30 years old. Although this was over 10 years ago many people have not forgotten the incident. Some may say that this is too long to hold onto judgment and that Affleck has probably grown up but for someone who has been sexually harassed they know that the memory of an incident rarely fades.
Anyone remember MTV's show Total Request Live? Back in 2003 Affleck and former One Tree Hill actress Hilarie Burton appeared on the show together... and Affleck groped her on live TV. Affleck has since apologized for the incident, but it is not an isolated event as he did something very similar in 2004 with Anne-Marie Losique.
Hilarie Burton is an American actress and producer who first became a prominent figure in Hollywood for hosting MTV's show Total Request Live, which is where she met Affleck. She has since gone on to leading roles in several movies and TV shows such as fan favorite Grey's Anatomy.
The incident between Affleck and Burton happened over a decade ago, but it wasn't until yesterday that Burton got an apology. Fans calling him out over twitter for the hypocrisy of denouncing Weinstein when he is on film doing similar things combined with Burton's reply saying that she hasn't forgotten either prompted him to tweet an apology.
Although Affleck's incident was long ago this not a behaviour of the past. Just days ago news has begun appearing across almost every major media outlet that Harvey Weinstein has reportedly raped and sexually harassed and assaulted multiple women over several decades. Ben Affleck commented on this saying it "made [him] sick" which is what brought up his past mistakes.
You have almost certainly seen a movie he was involved in the production of, but you may not know Harvey Weinstein by name. Weinstein is the co-founder of giant production Miramax Films and The Weinstein Company and has also won an Academy Award and seven Tony awards for his productions.
On Tuesday The New Yorker released an audio tape that seemingly proves the allegations of Weinstein's sexual harassment. The tape clearly records Weinstein beg Ambra Battilana Gutierrez to come to his room and watch him shower, as well as groping her breast and saying that he wouldn't do it again if she would do what he asks.
In light of the release of this tape, combined with the numerous other allegations piling up against Weinstein from dozens of women over several decades, Harvey Weinstein has been fired from his position at The Weinstein Company... aka the company that he founded just 12 years ago.
Harvey has long been regarded as one of the best film producers of our time. He was previously held in good view by the public, and from the outside seemed to be a decent guy. Until this scandal broke he was married to Georgina Chapman who has since separated from him once women started coming forward about the assault.
In a recent press release to The New York Times Weinstein said "I came of age in the Sixties and Seventies, when, all the rules about behaviour and workplaces were different." Weinstein offered this not as an excuse, but as an explanation for his behaviour and in the same release said that he regrets his actions.
To try to remedy the mistakes of his past, Weinstein has started to take steps to fix his behaviour, reputation, and career. In his same New York Times press release Weinstein shared that he will begin working with Lisa Bloom as his tutor and therapists to revamp his views on women and acceptable behaviour.
It is crazy that in 2017 it is still important to explain to some that women also deserve to be treated with respect. Women represent over half of the Earth's population and are just as capable as men in today's world, and we do not want to have sexual advances forced upon us because women are more than sexual beings.
Just like with any other personal incident, when you are accused of sexual assault people can either stand with you, or against you. In Weinstein's case his peers chose against him, many well known actors, including Affleck, Meryl Streep, and Hollywood's perfect man George Clooney have shared their negative view of these events.
Although it is no defense for what happened back in 2003, what Affleck has been criticized for thus far is not even close to the level of Weinstein's activities. It is important to keep in mind that not all bad actions are equal and although what Affleck did was deplorable it is not on the level of what Weinstein did and criticizing him for being angry at Weinstein may not be the right move.
The biggest similarity these two men share, besides forcing themselves on women, is that they both work in the media industry. Over the last year several media giants have gone down based on accusations or proven accounts of sexual assaults. Hopefully at some point these scandals will shake some sense into the people working in it and stop further events like this from occurring.