Less than a day after he released a statement condemning the alleged sexual harassment carried out by Harvey Weinstein, Ben Affleck has come under fire for similar actions. Former Total Request Live host Hilarie Burton—and many who witnessed the episode—say Affleck groped her on-air in 2003.
The accusation, supplemented with footage from the MTV documentary TRL Uncensored II, unfolded on Twitter on Tuesday after Affleck released a statement saying the accusations against Weinstein, whose company distributed his 1997 film Good Will Hunting, “made [him] sick” and feel “saddened and angry.”
The statement came in response to an article from the Guardian calling out Affleck and several other affluent Hollywood men who worked with Weinstein for failing to speak out against the producer.
One Twitter user, New York-based writer Shanice Brim, brought up Affleck’s groping of Burton in a conversation about Affleck’s qualifications to speak out against Weinstein. Burton, known for portraying Peyton Sawyer on One Tree Hill, got her start in entertainment at MTV as a host for various programs, including Total Request Live.
“He also grabbed Hilarie Burton’s breasts on TRL once. Everyone forgot though,” Brim tweeted.
Hours later, Burton replied to Brim and confirmed the allegation, writing, “I didn’t forget.”
“Seriously, thank you for that,” Burton later tweeted at Brim for her consoling. “I was a kid.”
I didn't forget.— Hilarie Burton Morgan (@HilarieBurton) October 10, 2017
Seriously, thank you for that. I was a kid.— Hilarie Burton Morgan (@HilarieBurton) October 11, 2017
Burton followed the tweet with a Vimeo clip of the introduction to TRL Uncensored II, a documentary of bizarre, unscripted footage from MTV’s Total Request Live, posted three years ago. In the clip, around the 40-second mark, Burton briefly speaks about the incident, saying, “He comes over and tweaks my left boob.” Seconds later, Affleck is seen asking Burton during an interview, “How old are you, 19?” to which she laughs in reply.
https://t.co/wh2MpJVQzl— Hilarie Burton Morgan (@HilarieBurton) October 11, 2017
Girls. I'm so impressed with you brave ones. I had to laugh back then so I wouldn't cry. Sending love.
While an online search of TRL Uncensored II yields few results, a video clip of what appears to be Burton’s full account from the documentary has already been posted to YouTube.
In the interview portion of the clip, with Burton speaking to Affleck, Affleck says, “…You’re always like, ‘I’m just free spirited. It’s so nice to see you,'” as he leans over from his chair toward Burton. While the camera’s angle doesn’t directly show Affleck groping her breast, it appears that he wraps his left arm around her back and places his hand under her left arm. She then yelps and laughs as the hem of her top moves slightly.
“Yeah, he pulled that move,” she says in the interview.
“That’s OK,” Affleck appears to say in reply.
In a reactionary clip playing during the interview clip, Burton recalls what happened next: “And he wraps his arm around me, and he comes over and tweaks my left boob…I’m just like, ‘What are you doing?!’…Some girls like a good tweak-age here and there. I’d rather have a high-five.”
In the clip, another woman, who isn’t identified, recounts Affleck’s move, saying, “I don’t know what happened, but Hilarie was all of a sudden like, ‘Ooh!’…And there was a little, squeeze? I don’t know. We’ve played the tape over a couple of times.”
While Burton didn’t disclose when the groping happened, Just Jared reported the offense happened in 2003. She would have been around 21 years old at the time of the interview, while Affleck would have been around 31.
“Girls. I’m so impressed with you brave ones,” Burton wrote, appearing to refer to women who have come out with allegations against Weinstein. “I had to laugh back then so I wouldn’t cry. Sending love.”
Just Jared reported Affleck’s representation didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.
H/T Just Jared
Update 1:22pm CT, Oct. 11: Ben Affleck tweeted an apology to Burton: “I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize.”
I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize— Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) October 11, 2017