Ben Affleck paid a visit to Jimmy Kimmel Live! Wednesday, sitting down with host Jimmy Kimmel—known for his “Fucking Ben Affleck” performance—to clear the air regarding criticism he’s faced in recent days over comments he made about ex-wife Jennifer Garner that he says have been spun to imply “the exact opposite” of what he said.
At the top of Wednesday night’s discussion, Affleck—whose Garner comments were delivered as part of a lengthy interview with Howard Stern—explained that the story behind his new movie The Tender Bar (directed by fellow Batman embodier George Clooney) served as the inspiration for the candid chat.
“We talked a lot about my family and divorce and alcoholism, and struggling with real things and how you have to be accountable and loving, and how I work with my ex-wife and how I’m so proud of the way we work together for our kids the best that we can for them,” Affleck said around the 1:43 mark in the video above. “I was really happy with it. I thought, wow, I should do more honest, exploratory, self-evaluating things. And then I started seeing all this stuff coming up on Twitter.”
According to Affleck, he came across an unnamed website that had “done the clickbait thing” while misrepresenting the intention behind his statements.
“I looked at it and they had literally taken the conversation that I had had for two hours and made it seem as if I was saying the exact opposite of what I said,” he explained to Kimmel. “I had gone on and said, like, how much we respect each other and cared about each other and cared about our kids and put them first and went through our stuff. And they said that I had blamed my ex-wife for my alcoholism and that I was trapped. … [They] just made me out to be, like, the worst, most insensitive, stupid, awful guy.”
From there, Affleck jokingly mentioned memes of the Sad Batman (circa 2014), Sad Affleck (circa 2016), and Dunkin Donuts (ongoing) variety, stating that he’s “happy” to be the subject of such content, as opposed to the headlines he’s found himself in this week.
“I know people do this, I get it,” he said around the 2:49 mark. “I’m happy to be sad Batman, I’m happy to be Dunkin Donuts and the memes. I understand. … But if it’s about my kids, I gotta just draw a line. And let me be clear, that’s not true. I don’t believe that. It’s the exact opposite of who I am, what I believe and I would never want my kids to think I would ever say a bad word about their mom.”
Later, Affleck addressed what he believes is a larger problem of in-depth discussions of this nature being oversimplified or chopped up into digestible bits, often obscuring their original meaning. The actor, who will again be seen as Batman in the upcoming Flash movie (as will Michael Keaton) was also asked if he could clarify whether or not Clooney would be joining them in any capacity. As far as Affleck knows, fans shouldn’t expect any Clooney involvement.
See the full interview, including an expertly dodged Jennifer Lopez question, up top. The Tender Bar hits select theaters Friday and will be available to stream via Prime Video next month. Below, catch the trailer.