Sir Ian McKellen weighed in on the sexual-harassment scandals currently plaguing Hollywood while speaking at the Oxford Union recently, and his comments were met with mixed reviews.
“People must be called out and it’s sometimes very difficult for victims to do that,” he said before sharing that, while working in the theater in the early ’60s, a director showed him some photos from actresses who wanted jobs.
“Some of them had at the bottom of their photograph ‘DRR’—directors’ rights respected,” he said. “In other words, if you give me a job, you can have sex with me.”
He went on to say that “people have taken advantage of that and encouraged it and it absolutely will not do.”
Critics condemned McKellen for his remarks, arguing that he was placing the blame on women for Hollywood’s problem with sexual abuse.
“I assume nothing but good will come out of these revelations, even though some people get wrongly accused,” he also said. “There’s that side of it as well.”
The out actor also addressed the allegations against Kevin Spacey, whom he worked with at the Old Vic theater in London, saying that the way he came out was “reprehensible because it linked alleged underage sex with a declaration of sexuality.”