After Rose McGowan alleged that Ben Affleck was a liar on Twitter, the court of public opinion has been dragging the actor. This dredged up an interview from 2004 in which Affleck has a Canadian journalist Anne-Marie Losique on his lap. During the interview, which was an effort to promote Jersey Girl, Affleck puts on a mock French accent, and jokes that Losique should take her top off. Today, given the new information that Affleck once groped Hilarie Burton on Total Request Live — something to which Affleck admitted in short order — the interview is suspect. It could be construed as sexual harassment.
"[It was] nothing improper. It was just fun and games," Losique told Refinery29 over the phone on Wednesday afternoon. "I thought it was funny. In this context, very honestly it shouldn’t be mixed with the issue at hand." She is referring to the news of Affleck groping Burton on TRL. Losique, who no longer works in entertainment journalism, says that it was an "ongoing" bit.
"I actually encouraged [it] a little bit because I thought it would be good TV," she says. "You know for girls, he was a sex symbol, and I thought that it was so cool that I was sitting on his lap...Here in Quebec, it was portrayed in a very good light."
According to Losique, the interview is well-known and well-regarded in Canada. However, part of what makes it iconic is that the host sat on Affleck's lap. Losique cannot recall if Affleck pulled her onto his lap or if she sat willingly.
"I didn’t sit on everybody’s lap," she admitted. Many of her interviewees would joke with her — Robin Williams would make fun of her French Canadian accent, she says, which Affleck also does in the clip — but Affleck and she had a specific rapport. In another interview that lives on YouTube, Losique and Affleck sit in separate chairs. They have a similar back-and-forth as in the more infamous lap conversation.
"You always ask me about my breasts," Losique tells Affleck in the clip.
"But your nipples are crazy right now. I don't know if you can put that on TV," Affleck says, gesturing at her chest. "I mean, I know it's French TV, but it's inappropriate for children. It's like two rocks you drop down your shirt."
Losique says the interviews never made her uncomfortable, and that she and Affleck never had a relationship off-camera. “I would never let anything uncomfortable happen," she says. Refinery29 has reached out to Affleck for comment.
The clip of Affleck and Losique has been making the rounds due to its outward optics and the recent allegations of sexual assault and abuse at the hands of film titan Harvey Weinstein, something Affleck condemned. Last week, the New York Times published a scathing exposé detailing decades of sexual harassment at the hands of Weinstein. On Tuesday, the New Yorker published another account. Since the two investigative pieces were published, more women have come forward to share their experiences with Weinstein. On Thursday, the actresses Léa Seydoux and Cara Delevingne accused Weinstein of sexual harassment. As more allegations come to light, it's hard not to question what other behaviours we let the powerful men of Hollywood get away with, often in plain sight.
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