02/03/2019 08:57 GMT

Ian McKellen Apologises After Bryan Singer And Kevin Spacey Comments

"When it comes to abuse by people in positions of power, the correct response is clear."

Sir Ian McKellen has “apologised unreservedly” for his recent comments about the sexual misconduct allegations aimed at director Bryan Singer and actor Kevin Spacey.

Earlier this week, Sir Ian appeared on the #QueerAF podcast, and ended up raising eyebrows when the subject of accusations against key Hollywood figures was brought up.

He noted: “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’ve been accused.” 

Ian McKellen

However, after many on social media began to criticise the actor for his comments, he shared a swift apology.

As part of an extended podcast recently I suggested that if closeted people were instead open about their sexuality they wouldn’t abuse others,” he said in a statement. “That, of course, is wrong.

“My intention was to encourage the LGBT audience I was addressing to be proud and open about their sexuality. In doing so, my point was clumsily expressed.

“I would never, ever trivialise or condone abuse of any kind. I deeply regret my careless remarks and apologise unreservedly for any distress I caused.”

C Flanigan via Getty Images
Kevin Spacey in 2013

Sir Ian added: “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.”

Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp was the first to publicly accuse Kevin Spacey of sexual misconduct in 2017, recalling an alleged incident that took place when he was a teenager.

While at the time Spacey said he did not remember the incident in question (and faced further criticism when he used the moment to come out as gay), multiple men have since come forward with their own allegations, which the actor has denied.

Meanwhile, Bryan Singer has also vehemently denied four men’s accusations against him, branding the article in which the man shared their alleged experiences a “homophobic smear piece”.

Sir Ian previously worked with Singer on four films, three of which were part of the X-Men franchise, in addition to the Stephen King adaptation Apt Pupil.