In the past few months several of Hollywood's dark secrets have been exposed to the light. Many stars have been accused of sexual misconduct. Many of the celebrities you may have admired, from Louis CK to Kevin Spacey, are rightfully being brought to task for their alleged heinous actions. While it may be uncomfortable, it's entirely necessary. The public is seeing the types of people these stars truly are and reacting with outrage.
Undoubtedly what started this trend were the allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein. He was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. It was an "open secret" that he used his power to get away with continuously putting women in uncomfortable situations.
Weinstein, along with his brother Bob, were in charge of the Weinstein Company. The two founded Miramax films in 1979. Harvey wielded untold influence in Los Angeles, since he was a force behind films that garnered 341 Oscar nominations and won 81 Academy Awards. One of those films was Good Will Hunting, written by and starring Ben Affleck.
Recently, Ben Affleck was a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Colbert has made several jokes at Harvey Weinstein's expense. So he wasn't afraid to bring up the subject with a man who knew him well, and when he did, things got uncomfortable for Affleck.
After a commercial break, Colbert asked Affleck to stick around. He brought up the fact that it was the 20th anniversary of Good Will Hunting. Affleck immediately started squirming, as he had an idea where this was going.
Colbert and Affleck made some light banter about the film. But then Colbert brought up the elephant in the room. He asked Affleck about Weinstein, the person he says made that film and started his career.
Affleck tried to deflect, saying, "This is a comedy show, correct?" But Colbert pushed past it and asked about Affleck's relationship with Weinstein. Namely, if because of his association with him if he was responsible for doing more than just distancing himself from the disgraced producer once the allegations became public.
Affleck said it was awful to see the extent of the crimes Weinstein committed. He claimed that although he hadn't worked with Weinstein in 15 years, he felt the early films that made him a star were tainted by his association. He said that after some soul-searching he decided to donate all future residuals from those films to charitable organizations.
Colbert then brought up allegations made against Affleck himself. Namely, groping actress Hilarie Burton in 2003 on MTV's Total Request Live. Affleck said he doesn't remember the event but absolutely apologizes for it.
Not everyone believes Affleck when he says he was surprised to hear about Weinstein's behavior. Actress Rose McGowan was instrumental in championing the voices of women coming forward and made her own accusations against Weinstein. She says that Affleck is lying, and she sought help from him but he ignored the request.
This wasn't the only awkward stop on the Justice League press tour for Affleck. While the cast was interviewed by MTV, Affleck made a joke many deemed to be in poor taste. When asked if they thought they should have more females on the team, Affleck replied, "Have you been following the news?"
You can tell by the reactions of his cast mates how well the joke went over.
To conclude the interview, Colbert asked Affleck what they could do to make sure this wasn't just a passing movement. Affleck stressed that they must support those that are coming forward and listen to their stories. He said he's not a superhero and men must be "really, really 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.'"
Sexual harassment isn't only a problem in Hollywood. Allegations have come out against politicians on the right and the left. It's a problem women face in every industry. Hopefully this is a watershed moment, and men everywhere will do a better job being accountable and mindful of their actions.