Sunday 16 June 2019

Sir Ian McKellen says some actresses offered to exchange sex for roles

Sir Ian McKellen attended the Attitude Pride awards in 2015 (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Sir Ian McKellen attended the Attitude Pride awards in 2015 (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Sir Ian McKellen has claimed that earlier in his career many women offered to exchange sex for roles.

The Oscar-nominated actor was speaking at a talk at Oxford Union when he made the remarks within a wider discussion on the swathe of sexual harassment allegations emerging in the film industry and beyond.

During the talk McKellen praised victims for coming forward, saying “People must be called out and it’s sometimes very difficult for victims to do that. I hope we’re going through a period that will help to eradicate it altogether."

Speaking about his experiences in the industry in the 60s he said, “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.”

McKellen claimed this was not unusual and said it was "madness".  He added, "People have taken advantage of that and encouraged and it absolutely will not do."

He also spoke about the impact of 'wrongful' accusations, "‘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.

The 78 year old star, who worked with Kevin Spacey in 2004, said that the way Spacey came out (in the wake of being accused of sexual assault by actor Anthony Rapp) was "reprehensible because it linked alleged underage sex with a declaration of sexuality."

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