The news out of Hollywood this week has mostly centered around the appalling sexual abuse accusations against Harvey Weinstein, the renowned mogul who was, until his recent public downfall, one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood.
Last week, the New York Times confirmed decades of rumors about Weinstein’s harassment of female colleagues in a scathing exposé.
On Tuesday, The New Yorker reported even more shocking claims, such as the allegations that Weinstein raped actress Asia Argento when she was just 21 years old.
Weinstein is responsible for helping to build some of the biggest careers in Hollywood, but thankfully, the stars who got their big breaks in movies produced by the the 64-year-old have been quick to condemn his actions.
Yesterday, Ben Affleck spoke out against Weinstein, but his comments resulted in immediate backlash from a longtime colleague.
Actress Rose McGowan accused Affleck of lying and claimed the Oscar winner–who first made a name for himself in the Weinstein-produced 1997 release Good Will Hunting–has known about Weinstein’s predatory behavior for decades and was complicit in keeping it under wraps.
Now, Affleck is facing another round of backlash, thanks to an allegation from early in his career that’s resurfaced in light of recent events.
In 2003, Affleck appeared on MTV’s TRL, which Hilarie Burton was then co-hosting.
The actress, who rose to fame on the CW’s One Tree Hill and now stars on Fox’s Lethal Weapon, says that Affleck groped her breasts following his appearance on the show.
Affleck was 30 and already a well-established star at the time of his appearance.
Burton was 20 and just beginning to make a name for herself in Hollywood.
The allegations against Affleck are making headlines today following Affleck’s full-throated condemnation of Weinstein’s exploitation of numerous young women.
When a New York-based writer named Shanice Brim reminded the world that “[Affleck] grabbed Hilarie Burton’s breasts on TRL once,” Burton responded simply:
“I didn’t forget.”
“I’m so sorry that happened to you,” Brim wrote back. “It’s infuriating that people never bring up all the gross, predatory things he’s done.”
“Seriously, thank you for that. I was a kid,” Burton said.
As evidence of her claim, Burton posted a montage of clips from TRL which included a snippet in which she’s seen telling the camera, “He comes over and tweaks my left boob,” apparently in reference to Affleck.
Later in the video, the actor is shown asking her, “How old are you? 19?”
Burton went on to offer support for the women have come forward as victims of Hollywood’s culture of harassment.
“Girls. I’m so impressed with you brave ones,” Burton tweeted.
“I had to laugh back then so I wouldn’t cry. Sending love.”
Affleck has yet to comment on Burton’s allegations.
We’ll have further updates on this developing story as more information becomes available.