When it comes to being a celebrity, especially one that has been in the spotlight for a long time and continues to be in it, there is this level of expectation that society has for that person with regard to how much of their personal life is to be put on display and made available to the public. There are people out there that literally want to know every little detail about how celebrities live and what they do, not just in their professional lives but in their personal lives as well.
I've never been one of those people that felt it was my business to know what is going on in a celebrity's life. At the end of the day, that person that is glorified and/or vilified in the media for all of us to see is nothing more or less than a human being like I am or anyone else is on this Earth. What they do in their private time with their families, friends and loved ones is their business and it has never been my place or anyone else's to pry into that personal space of theirs.
Unfortunately what happens is that when the public doesn't get wind of every little detail that goes on in a celebrity's life, people start to speculate on just exactly what it is, especially if something involving that celebrity happens and becomes a public story. This could be anything from a wedding declaration to an altercation that led to an arrest, or even something that happens as a part of the business that they work for. It happens on a regular basis and has been that way for years concerning celebrities, and the proliferation of the Internet and social media has only intensified that speculation from everyone.
For months, rampant speculation has occurred from countless "insiders," bloggers and purported sources about Ben Affleck and his status within WB's production of the solo Batman movie within the DC Extended Universe. The speculation has been fueled on almost every level by events such as his excitement to be directing the project initially, to the casting of Joe Mangianello as Deathstroke after costume test footage surfaced, all the way to his disappointment over critical reviews of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, his own movie Live By Night that did not do well in theaters this past January, and into his affirmations publicly on Jimmy Kimmel Live that despite assumed "delays" in production and other rumors, he would definitely be directing the solo Batman movie only to announce not long after that he was stepping down from the director's chair on the project.
Since then, the bloggers have been out for metaphorical blood assuming that it was only a matter of time before Affleck hung up the cape and cowl altogether because he simply didn't want to be associated with the DCEU anymore, largely considered by the critics and bloggers to be something of a sinking ship in terms of movie franchise viability. That erroneous perception of the franchise, biased or otherwise for whatever reason is certainly what fueled the rampant speculation on his status within the project, and a lot of people seemed to be certain what it was that was on the mind of the Oscar-winning director/actor this whole time.
In the midst of this sea of speculation, Affleck himself lifted the veil a bit on his personal life and offered us this glimpse into what has been going on with him recently:
So, after all of that speculation, after all of the assumptions made about Affleck's status within the DCEU and the solo Batman movie, after countless reports, opinions and reactions to everything swirling around him professionally and publicly, every reason given for why he wanted to leave a project that he openly said he was committed to for awhile now, it turns out that he has been facing some much more serious personal demons that he has been actively obtaining treatment for. Wow. That is quite the revelation.
When this news came out, my Twitter timeline was very loud and thankfully just about all of it was offering support for Affleck in his time of vulnerability here. A lot of it was also expressing anger at the immense amount of grief, speculation and in some cases outright drubbing that Affleck received because of his involvement with the DCEU and the solo Batman movie. As a fan of his work, especially his phenomenal job in the cape and cowl in both BvS and Suicide Squad, I share that support for him and the anger for those who constantly pressed him for months when he was in the middle of dealing with his treatment for alcohol addiction.
I know that it can be a sore subject when it comes to apologizing for certain behaviors toward celebrities, especially when people use their status as an agent of news to justify the questions they ask or the statements they make about someone else's life, but I'm of the opinion that Ben Affleck, while he will almost certainly never truly receive one, is owed an apology for the treatment he has received for the past number of months. The reason that I feel this way is pretty simple: The guy is a human being that has been through a decent amount of life events lately, including issues with his own immediate family and he's been constantly badgered and in some cases berated for his involvement with the DCEU, all because of what amounts to a great deal of impatience and entitlement displayed by many bloggers, critics and fans of comic book movies and properties.
Affleck himself appeared to be fed up with the constant barrage he was getting as it seemed every question he was being asked while he was promoting his own movie Live By Night was just probing for an update about the solo Batman movie, which never had an official release date, never began any principal photography and doesn't have a single scene shot yet, due in no small part to the fact that there are at least three more DCEU movies coming out in the next two years before the solo Batman movie would even release. That level of logic didn't stop fans and bloggers though, as they took to social media to voice their concerns and in many cases outright anger that nothing seemed to be moving fast enough for a 2018 release, and then when Affleck stepped down from directing that only intensified the irrational emotions, which I have written about before.
Now we find out that what has been going on with Affleck was very much unrelated to his feelings on Batman, and very much related to things that are none of our damn business in the first place, but he made the choice to tell the world what was going on with him at a time he felt ready to do so, which in retrospect makes all of the speculation, assumptions and impatience just seem that much more childish than it already was. Alcohol addiction, as many would tell you is nothing to take lightly, even for a celebrity like Affleck and this revelation about his treatment and status serves to put things in perspective about just what is truly important in life with regard to a set of movies that we can't wait to see and judge.
I'm not calling for anyone that was overly-critical or demanding of Affleck to actually apologize to him because I don't have any illusions that it would even do any good or make a difference. If Affleck is an intelligent individual and I assume him to be one, he's paying as little attention to the social media pundits and primadonnas as he possibly can while he focuses on his family and his treatment as those are the truly important things in his life, not what a bunch of angry fans and bloggers have to speculate about him on Twitter and Facebook. WE do not matter one bit when it comes to that and we shouldn't, not even if people selfishly think that they should when they tweet him and other professionals to tell them exactly what it is they need to be doing to make their beloved movies so much "better."
I AM saying though, that Ben Affleck is certainly owed some modicum of "social restitution" that he will never get, simply because it was unacceptable behavior that he has had to deal with from people on an almost regular basis regarding The Batman and his status within it. Regardless of the man's celebrity status and his place in life, he is still a human being doing a job and while he would tell you how fortunate he is to have that job, that doesn't give others an excuse to do and say whatever they want to him about it, even if they mistakenly think that Twitter and Facebook gives them that right.
As a Batman fan, a DCEU fan and a Ben Affleck fan, I salute him for being open about his treatment because he was under no obligation to do so and did it anyway. I also wish him well in his treatment efforts and applaud the fact that he is getting help for his alcohol addiction, which is a far more important challenge for him to face than the next time he suits up in the cape and cowl.