Academy Award-nominated actor and advocate for equality Sir Ian McKellen recently addressed the numerous sexual harassment allegations running rampant through the industry saying that wrongful accusations can definitely have an impact. He also pointed out how earlier in his career, many women would have sex for roles.
During a talk at Oxford Union, according to the Daily Mail, McKellen applauded victims for coming forward about sexual harassment saying “it’s sometimes very difficult for victims to do that.” He added, “‘I hope we’re going through a period that will help to eradicate it altogether.”
He then went on to share his own experiences during the early ’60s. “The director of the theatre I was working at showed me some photographs he got from women who were wanting jobs,” he said. “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.” He pointed out how that was commonplace and said it was “madness.”
Although supportive of the victims, he went on to talk about being cautious about the accusations flooding Hollywood as of late. “‘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.
As an openly gay man, McKellen also addressed the allegations surrounding Kevin Spacey, who he worked with in 2004 while he was the artistic director at the Old Vic in London saying that the way he chose to come out was “reprehensible because it linked alleged underage sex with a declaration of sexuality.”