Ian McKellen has apologized for his “careless remarks” after trivializing allegations of sexual abuse against Kevin Spacey and Bryan Singer.
The Lord of the Rings star, 79, sparked controversy during a live taping of the QueerAF podcast when he alleged that the men had abused others because they had kept their sexuality hidden for years.
“With the couple of names that you’ve mentioned, people I’ve worked with, both of them were in the closet,” McKellen told host Evan Davis. “Hence, all their problems as people and their relationships with other people.”
The openly gay veteran actor added: “If they had been able to be open about themselves and their desires, they wouldn’t have started abusing people in the way they’ve been accused.”
McKellen also drew criticism for making light of the sexual abuse claims made by Spacey’s and Singer’s alleged victims.
“Frankly, I’m waiting for someone to accuse me of something. And me wondering whether they’re not telling the truth, and me having forgotten?” he said, to audible gasps from the audience.
Posting an apology on Twitter, McKellen stressed that he would “never, ever trivialize or condone abuse of any kind”.
“I deeply regret my careless remarks and apologise unreservedly for any distress I caused,” he wrote. “My intention was to encourage the LGBT audience I was addressing to be proud and open about their sexuality. In doing so, my point was clumsily expressed.”
He added: “When it comes to abuse by people in positions of power, the correct response is clear. The accusers must be heard and the accused given the opportunity to clear their names. If the accusations prove credible, the abuser’s access to power should be removed.”
Spacey, 59, has been accused of sexual misconduct by a number of people, and is currently in an ongoing court battle over allegations he groped an 18-year-old in a Nantucket bar in 2016.
Meanwhile, X-Men director Singer is battling accusations he had sex with teenagers, which were printed in a recent The Atlantic expose. The filmmaker has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, calling The Atlantic’s article a “homophobic smear piece”.
– Cover Media0