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Ben Affleck faces criticism over friendship with Harvey Weinstein

The ongoing sexual assault and harassment scandal surrounding embattled film producer Harvey Weinstein has also cast a shadow over one of his most-prominent collaborators — Ben Affleck.

Affleck received backlash in recent days as accusations against Weinstein have continued to pour in — first for remaining silent for several days about the allegations against the filmmaker, then for failing to acknowledge whether he was aware of Weinstein’s purported behavior around women.

Weinstein and Affleck go way back. It was Weinstein who loved Affleck and Matt Damon’s script for the 1997 drama “Good Will Hunting” so much that he pushed the movie into production.

After the first round of accusations — claiming that Weinstein made unwanted sexual advances toward multiple women over the past three decades — was reported by The New York Times last week, Affleck did not react publicly for days, which led to pushback from some, including actress Rose McGowan.

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McGowan, who reportedly settled with Weinstein in 1997 after an incident in a hotel room and has repeatedly spoken out against him since, first criticized Damon on Monday, tweeting, “Hey @mattdamon what’s it like to be a spineless profiteer who stays silent?”

She followed that up with a second tweet directed at Affleck and his brother: “Ben Affleck Casey Affleck, how’s your morning boys?”

Affleck, 45, then issued a statement Tuesday condemning Weinstein after The New Yorker published a new exposé in which three women accused Weinstein of rape. They are three of the 13 women who accused the filmmaker of either sexual assault or sexual harassment in that piece.

“I am saddened and angry that a man who I worked with used his position of power to intimidate, sexually harass and manipulate many women over decades,” Affleck’s statement read. “The additional allegations of assault that I read this morning made me sick.

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“This is completely unacceptable, and I find myself asking what I can do to make sure this doesn’t happen to others,” the actor said.

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Harvey Weinstein (r.) was instrumental in the creation of Affleck’s seminal work “Good Will Hunting.”

(Kevin Mazur/VF13/WireImage)

Many Twitter users were quick to reply to the statement by pointing out Affleck’s younger brother, Casey, was accused of sexual harassment in 2010 by two female former co-workers. Casey ultimately settled with both outside of court.

McGowan, meanwhile, asserted that she had told Ben Affleck about Weinstein’s misbehavior toward her, despite his statement not expressing any prior knowledge of Weinstein’s alleged conduct around women.

“@benaffleck “GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT” you said that to my face,” McGowan, 44, tweeted Tuesday. “The press conf I was made to go to after assault. You lie.”

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She then confirmed to The New York Times that she indeed contending in the tweet that she had previously told Affleck of Weinstein’s actions. Affleck and McGowan starred together in “Going All the Way” in 1997 and “Phantoms” the following year.

Additionally, Affleck was accused Tuesday of committing his own lewd act years earlier during a 2003 appearance on the MTV music video show “TRL.”

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Ben Affleck was accused of grabbing Hilarie Burton’s (l.) breast during an appearance on “TRL.”

(Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

A Twitter user wrote of Affleck: “He also grabbed Hilarie Burton’s breasts on TRL once. Everyone forgot though.”

Burton then replied in a tweet of her own, “I didn’t forget.”

Ben Affleck condemns Harvey Weinstein amid sexual assault scandal

In separate tweets, Burton — who was 21 in 2003 — wrote “I was a kid” and shared a video of a “TRL Uncensored” promo that shows her vaguely referencing someone who “comes over a tweaks my left boob,” speaking in what seems to be a lighthearted manner.

“Girls. I’m so impressed with you brave ones. I had to laugh back then so I wouldn’t cry,” Burton wrote. “Sending love.”

Video apparently captured during that incident resurfaced online Tuesday, though the alleged grope is not visible on camera.

Affleck has not responded to those allegations by Burton.

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Damon, meanwhile, contended that he was never aware of Weinstein’s alleged behavior in an interview with Deadline, and says he would’ve intervened had he ever witnessed it.

“I never saw this (alleged sexual misconduct),” Damon told the outlet. “I think a lot of actors have come out and said, everybody’s saying we all knew. That’s not true. This type of predation happens behind closed doors, and out of public view.”

Several more women, including actresses Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, came forward Tuesday in a new New York Times story with allegations that Weinstein made unwanted sexual advances toward them early in their careers.

Weinstein was fired by the board of directors of the production company he co-founded, The Weinstein Company, on Sunday amid the scandal. His wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman, said Tuesday that she’s leaving him.

A rep for Affleck did not respond to a request for comments regarding Burton’s allegations and McGowan’s claim that she told the actor about Weinstein’s behavior.

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