Sir Ian McKellen alleged that early in his career, some women were not beyond sleeping their way to the top.
“The Hobbit” actor said as such while visiting Oxford Union to discuss the sexual assault and sexual harassment accusations sweeping Hollywood.
“People must be called out and it’s sometimes very difficult for victims to do that,” said McKellen, applauding the bravery of victims who have stepped forward. “I hope we’re going through a period that will help to eradicate it altogether.”
McKellen, 78, then disclosed some inappropriate behaviour he witnessed in the world of the performing arts. “But from my own experience, when I was starting acting in the early ’60s, the director of the theatre I was working at showed me some photographs he got from women who were wanting jobs,” he explained.
“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,” revealed McKellen.
The thespian gave his support to victims speaking out but cautioned others not to assume immediate guilt. “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,” he said.
McKellen, who is openly gay, also shunned Kevin Spacey for his “reprehensible” decision to come out as gay shortly after being accused of sexual assault by Anthony Rapp.
Some people were upset with McKellen’s remarks, sharing their disapproval on Twitter.
It is possible, however, some of the heat on McKellen was generated by a misleading and scandalous headline from DailyMail reading, “Women are partly to blame for showbiz sex scandal, says Sir Ian McKellen.”