Sean Bean Faces Backlash After Questioning Intimacy Coordinators

Jameela Jamil and West Side Story's Rachel Zegler both responded to the Game Of Thrones star's comments on Twitter.
Bean attends the 2018 Wizard World Comic Con at Pennsylvania Convention Center on May 19, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Bean attends the 2018 Wizard World Comic Con at Pennsylvania Convention Center on May 19, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Gilbert Carrasquillo via Getty Images

Game of Thrones star Sean Bean is facing backlash after saying that on-set intimacy coordinators can inhibit actors and “spoil the spontaneity” of sex scenes.

In a recent interview with The Times, Sean spoke about the job of intimacy coordinators, which have popped up on sets in the past few years to help actors navigate and feel safe while filming vulnerable scenes.

“It would inhibit me more because it’s drawing attention to things,” said the British actor, who played Ned Stark in the hit fantasy series. “Somebody saying, ‘Do this, put your hand there, while you touch his thing...’”

“I think the natural way lovers behave would be ruined by someone bringing it right down to a technical exercise,” he added.

When The Times’ interviewer pointed out that intimacy coordinators have been introduced to protect actors in the wake of the Me Too movement against workplace sexual misconduct, Sean referenced actor Lena Hall, who filmed a nude scene with him in Snowpiercer.

“I suppose it depends on the actress,” he said. “This one had a musical cabaret background, so she was up for anything.”

Lena spoke up in a Twitter thread soon after the interview was published, explaining that she needed “to clarify some information in this random article”.

“Just because I am in theatre (not cabaret, but I do perform them every once in a while) does not mean that I am up for anything,” she wrote. “Seriously does depend on the other actor, the scene we are about to do, the director, and whatever crew has to be in there to film it.”

“Sean is an awesome actor and made me feel not only comfortable but also like I had a true acting partner in those bizarre scenes,” Lena continued.

She also recognised the importance of intimacy coordinators, adding: “If I feel comfortable with my scene partner and with others in the room then I won’t need an intimacy coordinator.

“BUT if there is any part of me that is feeling weird, gross, over exposed etc... I will either challenge the necessity of the scene or I’ll want an IC.”

Actors Jameela Jamil and West Side Story star Rachel Zegler also responded to Sean’s comments.

“It should only be technical. It’s like a stunt,” Jameela tweeted on Monday. “Our job as actors is to make it not look technical. Nobody wants an impromptu grope...”

“Intimacy coordinators establish an environment of safety for actors,” Rachel also wrote. “I was extremely grateful for the one we had on WSS — they showed grace to a newcomer like myself + educated those around me who’ve had years of experience. Spontaneity in intimate scenes can be unsafe. Wake up.”

Other actors like Ex Machina star Alicia Vikander have spoken out in the past about not feeling “protected” during the filming of certain scenes in the days before intimacy coordinators.

“It’s the worst thing ever to do those scenes,” the Oscar winner said in a candid interview with Harper’s Bazaar in April. “I am very comfortable with my body and I’ve done quite a bit of nudity and sex scenes, but it’s never easy.”

Alicia added that intimacy coordinators “should have existed at the beginning of my career”.


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