THE PLOT THICKENS

Ben Affleck Apologizes for Groping Actress Hilarie Burton

Hours after condemning Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior, Ben Affleck’s own inappropriate behavior came back to haunt him.

Update: Ben Affleck has issued an apology to Hilarie Burton on Twitter, writing, “I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize.”

The pressure building on Ben Affleck over Harvey Weinstein’s Hollywood sexual-predation scandal exploded this morning after the actress Hilarie Burton claimed she was groped by the actor during his appearance on MTV’s Total Request Live, which she was then hosting, back in 2003.

Burton’s allegation, made on Twitter, came just hours after Affleck issued a carefully worded statement condemning Weinstein’s alleged three decades of assault and harassment of actresses, including Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Affleck’s statement, which came after five days of studied silence, was quickly slammed by Rose McGowan, the actress who has been instrumental in exposing Weinstein.

McGowan implied she had told Affleck all about her experience with Weinstein, and that he had reacted in a way that suggested he knew Weinstein was making a habit of harassing women. (Affleck and McGowan co-starred in the 1998 film Phantoms, which was distributed by Weinstein’s Miramax and released a year after an alleged episode between Weinstein and McGowan at a Sundance hotel room resulted in a $100,000 payout to McGowan.)

When a fan tweeted that Affleck might as well have “kept quiet,” another Twitter user wrote: “He also grabbed Hilarie Burton’s breasts on TRL once. Everyone forgot though.” 

Burton, who starred in the show One Tree Hill, quickly jumped into the thread, confirming that she recalled the incident.

Hilarie then wrote: “I was a kid.”

She was 21 when Affleck appeared on the show. 

She then tweeted a clip of TRL outtakes in which, apparently speaking about being groped by Affleck, she says: “He comes over and tweaks my left boob.”

She accompanied the clip, which was edited and presented as a lighthearted glimpse at life behind the scenes on TRL, with a comment suggesting she had laughed off the incident as a form of psychological defense.

McGowan, who claims she was assaulted by Weinstein in 1997, has been calling out the Affleck brothers over their silence on the Weinstein scandal all week.