The actor best known for playing Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, Ian McKellen, is facing the heat for statements about disgraced actor Kevin Spacey and alleged gay sexual abuser Bryan Singer.
McKellen shared a controversial theory on why Spacey and Singer allegedly abused underaged men on a podcast called #QueerAF with journalist Evan Davis, who queried him on his opinions about the two gay men. McKellen, an openly gay actor, shared his belief that the entertainers allegedly abused minors because they were unable to be open about their sexuality.
“Well, frankly, I’m waiting for someone to accuse me of something,” McKellen joked. “And me wondering whether they’re not telling the truth, and me having forgotten. But with the couple of names you mentioned, of people I’ve worked with, most 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 started abusing people in the way they’re being accused,” the actor said in the interview transcribed by Vanity Fair.
He added that it was debatable as to whether the two individuals should be forced to stop working following the accusations against them, stating that it should be up to the audience to decide whether they wanted to see their work.
being in the closet doesnt make you into a predator or give you an excuse to abuse, but sure thanks @ ian mckellen for furthering stereotypes against gay men like the good friends kevin spacey and bryan singer you wanted to defendhttps://t.co/gupVd37Sjm pic.twitter.com/AvPc6lec2J
— ashley (@pettyrising) February 27, 2019
Anybody else think Ian McKellen might have been to one or two of Bryan Singer's "Parties" over the years after reading that interview?
— Gary Devenport (@Garebear__11) March 2, 2019
Me cancelling Sir Ian McKellen: pic.twitter.com/OQPuOt8xQZ
— Coffeeless in Ottawa (@CoffeelessInOtt) March 1, 2019
McKellen has since retracted his position, explaining on Twitter that his statements were wrong.
1/4 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. pic.twitter.com/9k6KLH2hx9
— Ian McKellen (@IanMcKellen) March 2, 2019
“My intention was to encourage the LGBT audience I was addressing, to be proud and open about their sexuality,” he added . “In doing so, my point was clumsily expressed. I would never, ever trivialize or condone abuse of any kind.”
“I deeply regret my careless remarks and apologize unreservedly for any distress I caused. 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,” he concluded.