Ian McKellen has apologized after facing blowback for taking a controversial stance regarding accused sexual assaulters Kevin Spacey and Bryan Singer.
WHAT HE SAID
The 79-year-old McKellan, who worked with Spacey and Singer previously, was asked about his stance on the #MeToo movement on a recent #QueerAF podcast.
The actor, who is openly gay, said: "With the couple of names you mentioned of people I worked with, both of them were in the closet. Hence all their problems as people and their relationship with other people. If they had been able to be open about themselves and their desires, they wouldn’t have start"ed abusing people in the way they’re being accused."
Spacey famously came out as gay in October of 2017, after Anthony Rapp accused him of misconduct when he was 14 and Spacey was 26. Dozens of other allegations followed. In January, Spacey was arraigned on charges of sexual assault.
In 2014, Singer came out as bisexual shortly before aspiring star Michael Egan filed a civil suit against him, accusing him of misconduct. The suit was dropped. Earlier this year, four men accused Singer of misconduct, including rape.
McKellan also weighed in on whether stars accused of misconduct should be allowed to continue working.
"That’s debatable," he said. "I think that’s rather up to the public. Do you want to see someone who’s been accused of something that you don’t approve of? Do you ever want to see them again? If the answer is no, you won’t buy a ticket, you won’t turn on the television. But there may be others for whom that’s not a consideration. It’s difficult to be absolutely black and white."
BACKLASH AND APOLOGY
On social media, the critics pounced. One opined, "You can not blame their behavior on anyone but them, that is a terrible thing to say. There is no excuse for sexually assaulting someone," while another said, "Welcome to the worst take."
McKellen apologized on Twitter Saturday. "As part of an extended podcast recently, I suggested that if closeted people were instead open about their sexuality they wouldn’t abuse others. That, of course, is wrong," 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. I would never, ever trivialise or condone abuse of any kind."AUDIO: IANMCKELLENONSPACEYABUSE