Jeremy Irons Addresses Controversy Over Past Remarks On Same-Sex Marriage, Women’s Rights, And Abortion

Actor Jeremy Irons is clearing a few things up about his views on progressive causes.

The 71-year-old opened a press conference at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, where he is serving as jury president, by addressing controversy over some of his past remarks on a range of subjects, Deadline reported.

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Irons explained that he didn’t want to be “a distraction to the Berlinale.”

First, alluding to backlash over signing a petition in support of Roman Polanski in 2009, Irons said, “Let me make my views entirely clear on these particular subjects once and for all. Firstly, I support wholeheartedly the global movement to address the inequality of women’s rights and to protect them from abusive, damaging and disrespectful harassment both at home and in workplace.”

He then took on the issue of same-sex marriage, stemming from a 2013 comment in which he said the practice might “debase” marital law, though he later said his words were misinterpreted.

“Secondly, I applaud the legislation of same-sex marriage, wherever it has been attained. I hope that such enlightened legislation will continue to spread into more and more societies,” he said.

Finally, Irons addressed controversy over agreeing with an anti-abortion advocate.

“Thirdly, I support wholeheartedly the right of women to have an abortion should they so decide,” he said.

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“These three human rights are essential steps towards a civilized and humane society for which we should all continue to strive. There are many parts of the world where these rights do not yet exist, where such ways of living lead to imprisonment and even to death,” Irons continued. “I hope that some of the films we will be watching will address these problems. I look forward to watching films in this year’s Berlinale, which will provoke us to question attitudes, prejudices, and worldwide perceptions of life as we know it.”

He concluded, “I hope that’s put my past comments to bed. Now let us get on with 10 days of inquiry and celebration.”

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