Affleck lauded Levine with professional praise as part of a trademark lawsuit being brought against the Refuge Recovery founder.
Amid allegations of sexual misconduct against Buddhist teacher Noah Levine, the founder of the non-profit addiction treatment program Refuge Recovery, actor Ben Affleck has come to his defense.
The actor, who is in recovery, spoke highly of Levine in a statement reported by The Blast.
“Working with Noah and his Refuge Recovery program has, quite literally, turned my life around,” said Affleck. “Today I am sober, happy, healthy and have custody of my three children. All of those things are a result of having Noah in my life. I don’t know what I would have done without him.”
Affleck described Levine as being “without a doubt the person with the most integrity, the most honor, the most genuine compassion and the least motivated by self-interest I have ever known.”
He said that Levine was “a gift not only to me, but also to the many scores of people I have personally known who he has helped, in addition to the thousands more he has reached through his books and the Refuge Recovery program he created.”
Refuge Recovery, which has been covered on The Fix, is grounded in the belief that “Buddhist principles and practices create a strong foundation for a path to freedom from addiction.”
Affleck clarified to The Blast that his statement regarding Levine was part of his testimony in a trademark legal dispute between Levine and Refuge Recovery, the organization that has since removed him from the Board of Directors.
Levine and Refuge Recovery are suing each other over the use of the “Refuge Recovery” name, which according to the original non-profit organization was being used inappropriately by the Buddhist teacher.
The organization was “deeply concerned about several conflicts of interest caused by Mr. Levine” through his use of the organization’s name for his book and a for-profit treatment center business.
“Under federal and state laws, a non-profit business cannot benefit any one individual or business entity, if they in any way control the non-profit. The consequences for this could be fines and/or potential loss of non-profit status,” the organization said in a statement.
Affleck said that his relationship with Levine was “strictly professional” and stated that he “was not and am not aware of what allegations have been made against him.”
According to Good Times, an LAPD investigation “did not find enough evidence to bring charges against Levine” but an investigation by Against The Stream (ATS) another non-profit that he founded, determined that he had “likely broken the group’s rules,” and the group was closed by September 2018.
According to The Blast, a police report was filed against him by an anonymous woman but “no charges were ever filed.”
Levine issued a statement in response to the allegations of sexual misconduct.
“I take full responsibility for anything that I have actually done… To the women who have come forward and expressed a sense of suffering because of interpersonal experiences with me, I am sorry I caused you harm and I ask your forgiveness,” he stated.
“It is important to me that any woman who felt harmed, now feels heard. I want to understand. It matters… This has been a very painful way to wake up to the reality of who I am and how I am seen by others.”
Despite everything, Levine says he’ll continue his work.
“I have every intention of carrying on with my calling and mission, that is to practice the Dharma, to embody wisdom and compassion as best I can and to share the teachings of the Buddha with all who are interested to receive it.”