Ben Affleck has been dragged into the uncomfortable spotlight of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault scandal, with one actress accusing the Oscar-winning actor of groping her, and another stating that she believed Affleck covered up for Weinstein.
Affleck and Weinstein have a long history together: the Hollywood producer gave Affleck and Matt Damon their big break when he backed their 1997 film Good Will Hunting, which won the pair their first Oscar.
Criticism of the 45-year-old was mounting as he failed to condemn Weinstein – only issuing a statement on Tuesday, five days after the initial bombshell report, to say he was “saddened and angry” about the allegations.
He said that the news about the man who helped create his career “made me sick” and that we must “condemn this type of behaviour when we see it.”
But in response one woman said on Twitter that Affleck had groped the host of MTV show TRL, during an appearance in 2003.
“[Affleck] also grabbed Hilarie Burton’s breasts on TRL once. Everyone forgot though.”
Burton replied: “I didn’t forget.”
The fan wrote in response: “I’m so sorry that happened to you. It’s infuriating that people never bring up all the gross, predatory things he’s done.”
Burton thanked the fan, adding “I was a kid” when Affleck grabbed her breast.
On Wednesday night Affleck tweeted: “I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize”.
Video shows the aftermath of the encounter, with a flustered-looking Burton saying she normally prefers a high five to having her breast groped.
Separately, actress Rose McGowan – who is one of at least eight to have received a settlement from Weinstein for sexual harassment – attacked Affleck, calling him a liar and claiming the actor knew of Weinstein’s behaviour but remained silent.
In 1997, Weinstein reached a $100,000 settlement with McGowan after an episode in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival, according to The New York Times.
McGowan and Affleck appeared together in the 1997 film Going All the Way and the 1998 movie Phantoms.
When Affleck tweeted his condemnation of Weinstein, McGowan replied: “@benaffleck ‘GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT’ you said that to my face. The press conf I was made to go to after assault. You lie.”
She confirmed to The New York Times that she was accusing Affleck of being complicit in Weinstein’s actions.
McGowan also called out Affleck’s brother, actor Casey, who was accused of sexual assault by two women on the set of the 2009 film I’m Still Here.
Both suits were settled out of court.
“Ben Affleck Casey Affleck, how’s your morning boys?” she tweeted.
Affleck’s representative did not respond to The Telegraph’s request for comment.