Ben Affleck‘s “garish tattoos” have become the focus of a new satire piece in The New Yorker, and the Justice League actor broke his silence about his inked-up back with a brief tweet on Thursday.
“@NewYorker I’m doing just fine,” Affleck wrote. “Thick skin bolstered by garish tattoos.”
A couple years ago, people noticed a massive, colorful tattoo of a phoenix flying up Affleck’s back, but the actor claimed it was wasn’t real. “[It’s] fake for a movie,” he told Extra’s Mario Lopez in 2016. “I actually do have a number of tattoos, but I try to have them in places where you don’t have to do a lot of cover up… they get sort of addictive, tattoos, after awhile.”
But photos of the Oscar winner shirtless in Hawaii earlier in March prove it’s real, and sparked The New Yorker piece, titled “The Great Sadness of Ben Affleck.” It described the imagery as a “garish tattoo.”
Though satire, the article also referred to Affleck’s “gut” in his vacation photos, which writer Naomi Fry describes as “pooching outward in a way that, in a more enlightened country like, say, France, would perhaps be considered virile, not unlike the lusty Gérard Depardieu in his prime but, in fitness-fascist America, tends to read as Homer Simpsonesque.”
A source previously told PEOPLE that Affleck got the tattoo after splitting from Jennifer Garner in 2015, and a source later said that the ink took “hours and hours” to complete.
Everyone seems to have an opinion on it, and the situation became such a thing that even Affleck’s best bud Matt Damon commented. “It’s not one man’s job to tell another man what he can do to his back,” he told Trevor Noah during a visit to The Daily Show. “I support him in all of his artistic expression.”
Affleck’s exes have also weighed in. Garner told Vanity Fair in 2016, “You know what we would say in my hometown about that? ‘Bless his heart.’ A phoenix rising from the ashes. Am I the ashes in this scenario?” She added, “I take umbrage. I refuse to be the ashes.”
That same year, Jennifer Lopez called it “awful,” telling Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, “His tattoos always have too many colors, they shouldn’t be so colorful. They should be cooler.”
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