December 20, 2017 at 1:11 pm PST | by Mariah Cooper
Ian McKellen criticized for saying some actresses offer sex for roles

(Photo via Themightyquill at Wikimedia Commons)

Ian McKellen has come under fire for comments about the sexual misconduct scandal that has hit Hollywood in recent months.

While giving a talk at Oxford Union, McKellen was asked about Harvey Weinstein by an audience member.

“Of course people taking advantage of their power is absolutely reprehensible, wherever it happens,” McKellen begins. “Within the family? Father and his children? Awful lot of that. Not, thank goodness, in my family. In the workplace? Doesn’t have to be the theater, doesn’t have to be Hollywood. It could be the local shop, it could be Parliament. It won’t do, wherever it happens.”

“People must be called out and it’s sometimes very difficult for victims to do that,” the actor continued. “And I know it’s particularly painful to some people who were abused and didn’t talk about it and never got it out of their system and feel it maybe decades later when they read about abuse in the newspaper, it all comes flooding back. And psychiatrists will tell you that their books are full of people who are hurt by revelations of other people’s experience. I hope we’re going through a period which will sort of help to eradicate it altogether.”

He recalled that while acting in the 1960s exchanging sex for roles was commonplace and “madness.”

“The director of the theatre I was working at showed me some photographs he got from women who were wanting jobs,” McKellen says. “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.”

His response was considered to be an insensitive comment for some who took to Twitter to slam the actor.

McKellen, who is openly gay, also commented on Kevin Spacey choosing to come out in response to sexual misconduct allegations. For McKellen the choice was “reprehensible because it linked alleged underage sex with a declaration of sexuality.”

Watch McKellen discuss the sexual misconduct scandals below.

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