Arts & Entertainment | April 26, 2022 11:42 am

Why We Are Still Talking About the Ben Affleck Raya Saga, Two Years Later

A "Selling Sunset" star claims to have chatted with Ben Affleck on Raya, reigniting an exceptionally silly bit of celeb gossip that refuses to die

Ben Affleck is seen on April 14, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Ben Affleck, a man haunted by his past on an exclusive dating app
Bellocqimages/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Back in February 2020, when the powers that be at the internet discourse factory asked me to write about whether or not Ben Affleck was on the dating app Raya, I never would have imagined that I would still be writing about such a trivial piece of celebrity gossip two years and a pandemic later. And yet, here we are. More than two years after Affleck staunchly denied being on any dating apps during a Good Morning America interview, rumors that the actor was at one time active on Raya have once again resurfaced thanks to an episode of the Netflix reality series, Selling Sunset.

To catch everyone up, rumors that Affleck, then in his sad divorced guy phase, was using Raya first surfaced in 2019, when Page Six reported the actor was “looking for love” on the ultra-exclusive dating app to the stars. Details from the report suggested Affleck was quite active on the app at the time, frequently updating his profile photo and at one time changing his profile song to Bob Marley’s “Guava Jelly.” A few months later, the actor firmly denied the rumors of his dating app use, telling Diane Sawyer, “I am not on any websites, I have no songs,” and then rattling off a list of dating apps and nonsense words that kind of sound like dating apps, none of which, he claimed, he was on. This caused some speculation as to whether a Ben Affleck catfish was on the loose, or whether the real Ben Affleck was simply lying.

Then a pandemic happened and everyone pretty much forgot about the whole thing — until about a year ago, that is. In May 2021, one of Affleck’s alleged former Raya matches took to TikTok to share an embarrassing front-facing video she claimed the actor sent her after she unmatched him. “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,” she captioned the clip, in which Affleck, holding his phone much too close to his face, says, “Nivine, why did you unmatch me? It’s me.”

It was all pretty cringey and Affleck was thoroughly mocked and memed for the incident, but still managed to get back together with Jennifer Lopez over the summer. Now, yet another year later, Affleck’s stint on the dating app continues to haunt him. In a recent episode of Netflix’s Selling Sunset, which is a reality show about rich, beautiful people selling expensive houses to other rich, beautiful people, cast member Emma Hernan claimed to have chatted with Affleck on Raya “right before” he reconciled with J-Lo, and even mentioned the “Guava Jelly” thing.

Affleck’s camp pushed out a half-assed denial, telling People, “Raya has confirmed that he has not been an active member for several years.” A rep for Hernan, meanwhile, clarified that she was referencing an exchange with the actor that occurred in 2019 — which isn’t really what we might call “right before” Affleck’s 2021 reunion with his ex.

Does any of this matter? Absolutely not. Is any of it even really all that interesting? Not really, no. But am I impressed that such an irrelevant bit of celebrity gossip involving one of the most boring actors I can think of has managed to survive a pandemic and stretch into a years-long, multi-part saga? Yes, yes I am.