Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas are back to pounding the pavement after spending some quality time in the desert for Ana’s 32nd birthday, away from the paparazzi. Well maybe just Rodrigo was there to take a couple of the candids Ana posted on Instagram, or maybe they brought a tripod. At any rate, they’re back, and while the sun was shining brightly upon their return to Los Angeles, one small, dark cloud rolled in and it was in the form of Hilarie Burton Morgan’s new memoir, The Rural Diaries, which includes a short anecdote about the time Ben groped her breast on air when she was interviewing him for MTV back in 2003. Maybe that’s why BenAna decided to really cause a distraction by wearing coordinating outfits for yesterday’s stroll.
According to The Blast, Hilarie’s book, full title—The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm, includes stories about her start in Hollywood as a host of MTV’s Total Request Live, and how her “take it on the chin” attitude about being groped by Ben was praised by MTV, leading her to accept further abuse later in her career on One Tree Hill. Hilarie says she now realizes she was being groomed.
“I was nineteen, and I’d taken it on the chin and kept going. One of MTV‘s top brass called me and said, ‘You handled that so well.’ I didn’t realize that I was being groomed—trained to be a good girl and a good sport, someone who would put up with much worse behavior.”
The 2003 Gropening is like a bad penny. You may recall, it first resurfaced back in 2018 at the height of the #metoo movement when Rose McGowan was raking Ben over the coals for acting surprised when the initial wave of accusations against Harvey Weinstein came out. Somebody brought it up during that exchange, and Hilarie shared a video of her giving color commentary on the incident as part of a TRL Uncensored episode explaining “I had to laugh back then so I wouldn’t cry.” Ben eventually apologized in a tweet saying “I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize,” and since he was doing press for Justice League at the time, he later told Stephen Colbert that he didn’t remember the incident at all. But hey, look over there!
Ana de Armas & Ben Affleck are looking blue walking their dogs after getting back from their desert getaway. (May 6, 2020) pic.twitter.com/A6aXLjOiT5
— Ana de Armas Updates (@ArmasUpdates) May 7, 2020
Is it just me or can you see just a little bit of fatigue creeping into Ben’s peepers, especially in that top right shot? Maybe that’s The Shadow of The Gropening. Oh no, look out!