The now infamous Ben Affleck video was shared by actress Nivine Jay, and has now been watched more than 8.6 million times.
“Thinking of the time I matched with Ben Affleck on Raya and thought it was fake so I unmatched him and he sent me a video on Instagram,” the actress wrote across her video.
Affleck, it appears, didn’t take the rejection so well (or perhaps was making a joke?) and responded by sending Jay a video on Instagram. “Nivine, why did you unmatch me? It’s me,” he says in the very close-up self-filmed video.
For those who missed it, the Gone Girl actor split from his girlfriend Ana de Armas (Knives Out) earlier in 2021 after a somewhat confusing and highly publicised romance. The release of his video message prompted debate online, namely around whether it’s appropriate to share private videos or messages from celebrities.
As well as numerous people simply wondering why Affleck would choose to do this—saving and screen recording videos from private chats hardly an uncommon behaviour—others pointed out his statement seemed to smack of entitlement. Of course, from the short clip, it’s hard to draw any definitive conclusions that Affleck believes his fame alone should enable him a chance with dating app users.
The conversation was sparked again when a 19-year-old TikTok user named Kate Haralson shared and then deleted a FaceTime date with Friends actor Matthew Perry—in this instance, Perry didn’t know he was being recorded.
"When you match with Matthew Perry as a joke on a dating app and he FaceTimes you and plays 20 questions with you," she wrote across her now-deleted TikTok.
While the video was eventually deleted—Haralson claimed she faced bullying for it—she told Page Six that her motive in posting the video was bigger than herself. Perry is 51, more than three decades older than Haralson who claims she released the video to draw attention to the trend of older male celebrities “taking advantage” of young women on dating apps.
“A lot of people were saying I’m a bully and mean for posting this, and it made me feel kind of bad, but at the same time, I feel like a lot of guys in Hollywood are talking to all these young girls and it’s something that I think a lot of people should be aware of,” Haralson explained.
Since releasing the video, Haralson has been removed from Raya for breaching their privacy guidelines.
Beyond it simply being more confirmation of the well-documented phenomenon that while heterosexual women's preferences in partner age as they do, men's do not, there is a larger conversation about power to be had. Beyond just decades of life experience and wealth that men like Affleck and Perry have ahead of their romantic targets, they're also riding the power, influence and allure of their fame.
For her part, social media denizen Teigen condemned the whole situation. “I agree celebs shouldn’t be making these creepy desperate video replies on Raya but it’s tacky to release private messages,” Teigen tweeted. “Ya both wrong, congrats.”