Anne-Marie Losique said her recently resurfaced 2004 interview with Ben Affleck, which appears to show the actor groping her and making gross comments about her breasts, was “an on-camera game,” which was “actually very respectful.”
After actress Hilarie Burton spoke out about Affleck grabbing her breast in 2003 on “TRL,” prompting an apology from the actor for his inappropriate behavior, another video clip from around the same time made the rounds online. The video (watch above) shows Affleck getting very handsy with Losique, a French-Canadian TV host from Montreal, Quebec, during a press junket interview for the movie “Jersey Girl.” At the time, Losique was the host of the show “Box Office,” which, she told HuffPost, she produced herself. She also said that she and Affleck did dozens of interviews that all had this same, flirtatious, on-camera dynamic.
“It was a game,” said Losique, “an on-camera game, if you will, that was actually very respectful. Because before and after there was very courteous conversation.”
In the 2004 clip, Affleck spends the entire interview nuzzling Losique, holding her and turning her around on his lap.
“They would like it better if you did the interview topless at the station, wouldn’t they?” he remarks, asking her why she’s covering up her cleavage. When she giggles, responding that it’s Sunday morning, Affleck says: “It’s Sunday morning? That never stopped you before from getting those titties out. Who are you trying to fool?”
Affleck asks Losique if she has a boyfriend back in Montreal and suggests that she work at Fox in L.A. “They would love you,” he says to her. “Fox L.A., they have a pole they dance on.”
At one point, he appears to graze Losique’s breast with his hand, and then suggests that they “do a Janet Jackson stunt.” (Jackson had a nip slip during the Super Bowl halftime show in 2004.)
Toward the end of the interview, he makes a joke about cerebral palsy, telling Losique, “Don’t make me look retarded,” in a French accent before making a mocking hand motion. The interview wraps up with Affleck joking about how all Losique wants to do “is have sex all the time.”
“I feel used and exploited,” Affleck jokes. “I feel undervalued and objectified by you.” (HuffPost reached out to Affleck’s publicist for comment on the interview, but did not hear back.)
Losique agreed to speak to HuffPost by phone about the interview and how she sees it today.
HuffPost: Your 2004 interview with Ben Affleck recently resurfaced. From your perspective, what was that experience like at the time and how do you feel about it now?
Anne-Marie Losique: I have to put some things into context because we did dozens of interviews like that and they were always of the same nature, and it was always done within junkets, film releases, red carpets. And so it was a game ― an on-camera game, if you will, that was actually very respectful. Because before and after there was very courteous conversation. It’s just when the camera starts rolling that we would do this game that we both agreed to and it was, to tell you very honestly, it was a hit in Quebec. When I had a Ben Affleck interview, the network would promote it, the media would talk about it and I had amazing ratings. [Laughs] They were very popular because they were seen for what they were, like, fun and games.
As far as his comments [about my breasts], I think he was doing more a parody of the French culture in a way. More because...in North America the French are more at ease with our bodies than maybe the English people.
Did you ever feel as though he was acting in a way that was inappropriate or crossed a line for you?
Very honestly, if I had felt that, I would have stopped it. And I don’t think there would have been any issue. And I would have said, “Well, I would like a serious interview,” or whatever. If I had felt that’s what I wanted ― you know, I produced my own show, so there’s no victims here or nothing. Those interviews, I never edited out anything. I really put it out there. So now it’s brought back out of context a little bit. But every time those interviews have resurfaced [before], it’s always been in a positive and fun light. Just now, people are trying to put it in a context of this whole situation [with Harvey Weinstein]. And we have to make a distinction. You know? People try to put everything together and this is completely a different situation.
Another video clip from “TRL” in 2003 recently resurfaced, which shows actress Hilarie Burton talking about Affleck tweaking her breast. Since your interview happened around the same time, I wonder if that’s why people might be having a strong reaction to it.
In Quebec, we’re raised very independently, and very strong. It’s a matriarchal society, and we don’t get stepped on. And when we don’t like something, we don’t do it. So, you know, as I said, if I had felt at all uncomfortable, I wouldn’t have done it.
It was great TV, very honestly. And I still think it’s funny ― not within that context, but within its own context I find it very clever and funny. I mean all the interviews, not that one in particular... Everybody loved it in Quebec. Whenever we mention that show which used to be called “Box Office,” my movie show, Ben Affleck always comes up... but in a positive light, not at all in a negative light.
Do you think part of the way people are receiving it now has to do with the fact that the culture has changed?
Yeah. And also, culturally, knowing that this was airing in Montreal, Quebec. And this humor, maybe we are a bit more open about it than on the English side. Maybe we’re a bit more at ease with this kind of humor... This is really an American thing, if I may say so. [Laughs] So anyway, all that is to say that I don’t know if [Affleck] would have done that [kind of interview] with an American interviewer... He did it knowing that we would find it fun in a French culture. I really think so. And we did, by the way. We really appreciate it.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.