Grope Allegation Against Batman Ben Affleck Creates PR Nightmare for ‘Justice League’

Hollywood’s worst fear just came true. The biggest scandal by far in Tinseltown history has just expanded beyond Harvey Weinstein. Tuesday night, Oscar-winning director Ben Affleck was publicly accused of groping actress Hilarie Burton back in 2003.

Hollywood’s Batman, the anchor in Warner Brothers’ most expensive franchise, stands accused of sexual misconduct against a then-21 year-old actress.

Moreover, Justice League — a tentpole coming out in less than five weeks, a blockbuster the entire industry is counting on to salvage the 2017 box office, a crowd-pleaser needed to remind people why they love going to the movies, an investment that with promotional costs probably reaches $250 – $300 million — is now in serious jeopardy.

Affleck, the star of that film, not only stands accused of sexual misconduct, he does so in the eye of a hurricane, a rampage to make examples of powerful men, a perfect storm that could capsize his entire career.

The fallout, if Hollywood loses its Batman and an Oscar-winning director, is incalculable.

As if the news could not be any worse, as we have seen over the years, these things also have a way of snowballing. One accuser begets another and then another and then another. The floodgates open, more accusers are encouraged to come forward, more powerful men are accused.

Would anyone be surprised to see a boycott against Justice League, stories of boos when Affleck appears on screen? This is toxic death for any product, much less one driven by celebrity.

That is the searing environment we find ourselves in right now and Batman himself, one of Hollywood’s most valuable properties, stands accused dead in the middle of it.

 

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