While speaking at Oxford Union, Ian McKellen shared his views on the current trend of sexual harassment accusations and possibly caused some controversy in the process. According to The Daily Mail — claiming McKellen said “women are partly to blame” for sexual harassment and “some actresses tell directors they will sleep with them to win roles” — the Lord Of The Rings actor described the realm of entertainment when he first broke in during the ’60s, discussed his own experiences as an observer, and commended those speaking out in recent months:
“I hope we’re going through a period that will help to eradicate it altogether. But from my own experience, when I was starting acting in the early Sixties, the director of the theatre I was working at showed me some photographs he got from women who were wanting jobs. . . some of them had at the bottom of their photograph ‘DRR’ — directors’ rights respected. In other words, if you give me a job, you can have sex with me.
“That was commonplace from people who proposed that they should be a victim. Madness. People have taken advantage of that and encouraged it and it absolutely will not do.”
While this type of claim is sure to have happened at one point and represents the thoughts of the time, it is also sure to rub some the wrong way in the current climate. It also seems to be a comment that is set up to cause trouble online, with many not looking into the full statement.
Also controversial are McKellen’s claims that some are wrongfully accused and how that could affect some of the claims being made:
“I assume nothing but good will come out of these revelations, even though some people get wrongly accused — there’s that side of it as well.”
The 78-year-old actor had previously spoken out about the accusations against Kevin Spacey and the disgraced actor’s apology that included him coming out about his sexuality. The openly gay McKellen called Spacey’s statement “reprehensible because it linked alleged underage sex with a declaration of sexuality.”