Michael Sheen is disputing The Times of London report that the Passengers actor is leaving acting. “I DID NOT declare that I’m ‘quitting acting and leaving Hollywood’ to go into politics,” the actor said in a statement (the CAPS are his).
The Times interview, published yesterday, quoted Sheen as describing a switch to political activism as “Once I’m in, I’m fully in, and this is big.” Other sites quickly picked up on the interview (including Deadline, which noted, with attribution to The Times, that Sheen was, variously, “taking (a) break” from acting and “putting his acting career on hold”).
But in his statement on his Twitter page under the headline “What I Did Not Say,” Sheen suggests that The Times mischaracterized his interview, and he pointedly distanced himself from a quote in The Times comparing the right-ward political shifts in the U.K. and the U.S. to “Germany in the Thirties.” He does, however, warn of “a re-emerging spectre of fascism in the West.”
Here is the statement Sheen released, in full:
“I did one interview with The Times of London a few weeks ago, parts of which (including a headline that is not a quote) have been picked up by a lot of other outlets. I DID NOT declare that I’m ‘quitting acting and leaving Hollywood’ to go into politics.
“In the actual original interview I said I have become more involved with community issues back at home over the last few years and because of the political situation it’s something I would like to focus on more. The interviewer asked me what that meant for my career and I said it might mean I work less as an actor and maybe even stop for a while AT SOME POINT. But I don’t really know yet.
“I certainly did NOT equate people who voted for Brexit or Trump with a fascistic ‘hard right’ that must be stopped. The majority of people in the U.K., including my hometown of Port Talbot, voted for Brexit. That is the will of the people and is to be respected. That is democracy. Given the concerns around the economy in the area I come from and its industrial history I totally empathise with the dissatisfaction with the status quo that the vote was partially an expression of.
“What I think must be resisted is the re-emerging spectre of fascism in the West. Our democracy must be defended and each of us needs to decide how we can contribute to that effort.”
In addition to the statement, Sheen tweeted: