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Ben Affleck Tells GQ that Murderer Scott Peterson Got Better Press
Ben Affleck is one of GQ’s Men of the Year honorees, but the director’s current hot streak of critical success comes after years of media mockery that definitely left a mark.
In a candid conversation with the magazine, Affleck talks about he bad publicity he received about a decade ago, in the midst of some poor career choices and his tabloid-ready romance with Jennifer Lopez.
The actor-director reflects on the viciousness of some of the things written about him in magazines and newspapers at the time, including the line, “At the risk of generalizing, there may not be a person on the planet who is more socially acceptable to hate.”
“At the time, I knew on some level, ‘This is insane,’” he says of the hatred directed his way in the early-to-mid 2000s. “No one on the planet was more socially acceptable to hate? Really?”
He continues, “What was that guy’s name who killed his wife and dumped her off the side of a boat?… [Scott] Peterson. I remember thinking he actually gets slightly better treatment than I do in the press. At least they had to say ‘alleged killer.’”
Affleck adds, “Unfortunately there’s an aspect of that that’s like one of those fights you see on YouTube where one of them falls down and then a bunch of people who were standing around come over and kick the person. They don’t know them, they have no involvement in the fight, but they recognize a moment that they can get a free shot in, and for some people it’s just too much to resist. And that was definitely me at that point. I was the guy. I was the designated person to loathe.”
“The amount of venom — I must have touched some specific little place in the consciousness,” he says. “I don’t believe I didn’t deserve any negative judgment for anything, but it was just way out of whack.”
His headline-making relationship with Lopez in particular drew contempt from the public, in Affleck’s estimation, partly because there was a perception that he was courting the constant coverage of his personal life.
Affleck explains, “It was the last thing I wanted, and I could tell it was damaging me, and I tried to get away from it, but there was still this idea: This is what this guy wants, he’s a shallow guy, a camera whore or whatever. And there was no convincing people that that wasn’t the case.”
At the end of this rough period, he escaped.
“I think I just ran away. You can only handle so much,” says Affleck. “I moved for a while to this place in Georgia that I have, was able to get away, by and large, from stuff. Come up with a plan for how to do something with my life that doesn’t put me in the crosshairs of this sort of thing.”
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