Ian McKellen apologized for saying dumb sh-t about Kevin Spacey & Bryan Singer

The 64th Evening Standard Theatre Awards - Arrivals

Several times now on the Gossip With Celebitchy podcast, I’ve described my gut-level aversion to covering stories about predators and the people who defend predators. My immediate reaction when I see some terrible headline is usually “please, I don’t want to talk about that.” Which is how I explain why I didn’t cover this interview with Ian McKellen last week. McKellen has worked with both Bryan Singer and Kevin Spacey, and while he’s said critical things about them in the past, I’ve always gotten the sense that McKellen would probably work with both of them again, and that he doesn’t see the accusations against them as particularly credible. Here’s what McKellen said in a podcast interview on February 23rd:

On Bryan Singer & Kevin Spacey: “With the couple of names you’ve mentioned, people I’ve worked with, both of them were in the closet. And hence all their problems as people and their relationships 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.”

On #MeToo stories: “Well frankly, I’m waiting for someone to accuse me of something, and me wondering whether they’re not telling the truth and me having forgotten.”

Whether accused predators should be shunned from the industry: “Whether they should be forced to stop working, that’s debatable. I rather think that’s up to the public. Do you want to see someone who has been accused of something that you don’t approve of again? If the answer’s no, then you won’t buy a ticket, you won’t turn on the television. But there may be others for who that’s not a consideration. And it’s difficult to be exactly black and white.”

[Quotes via Bleeding Cool]

I feel like screaming into the abyss. It would not make a difference if Kevin Spacey had come out as gay in 1996. He still would have been a predator. Same with Bryan Singer. Harvey Weinstein could have identified himself as a serial philanderer and he would still be a rapist. One thing doesn’t have anything to do with the other. As for the whole “don’t buy a ticket to an accused predator’s movie,” when are industry people going to make the argument of “maybe we shouldn’t WANT to work with accused predators, rather than letting the market decide?” Anyway, McKellen’s quotes had a slow and terrible burn and it took a full week for people to really see them. McKellen now wants to clarify.

I mean, give him a cookie for acknowledging this, I guess: “I suggested that if closeted people were instead open about their sexuality they wouldn’t abuse others. That, of course, is wrong.” I would argue that this is poorly stated though: “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.” This bugs me, and there are so many men in the industry arguing this point, like there’s some kind of credibility or believability threshold which… has no real meaning, for which there’s no real standard. It’s one thing if we’re all lawyers and we’re having this discussion in a court. But Hollywood needs a better answer than “the accusation must be credible – and we, the men, can alone determine credibility – for us to fire a predator.” *bangs head against wall*

The 64th Evening Standard Theatre Awards - Arrivals

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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19 Responses to “Ian McKellen apologized for saying dumb sh-t about Kevin Spacey & Bryan Singer”

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  1. Bebe says:

    Disappointing, all in all. Good analysis, Kaiser!

  2. Zapp Brannigan says:

    There are photos of McKellan at the infamous Singer pool parties with Gary Goddard, none of this is surprising is it really. Of course he will defend his friend, maybe he sees nothing wrong with what happened at those parties, just part of doing business in Hollywood.

    • Nanny to the rescue says:

      That’s why he said “I’m waiting for someone to accuse me of something, and me wondering whether they’re not telling the truth and me having forgotten.”

  3. pru says:

    I have a feeling that he meant what he said when he said it, until some PR person “educated” him.

  4. Nancypants says:

    Yeah, this is nasty.
    K. Spacey was one of my favorite actors and I don’t care if he was gay, bi, in the closet but 14 year old boys? NO. NO Spacey. NO.

    And it certainly is convenient for a guy older than God to mention he might have forgotten if he assaulted someone. “Oh, I’m old! I can’t remember!” Shut up. You know you did.

    • Hmmm says:

      That’s what stood out the most to me. Not surprised that he would defend the pervs because look how long Hollywood stood by Harvey Weinstein. he’s basically just waiting for his accusers to come out too becasue he knows they’re out there.

  5. otaku fairy... says:

    !?Yikes. Not impressed, just ashamed. His misogynistic comments last year were bad enough. Now this? Legitimately non-hetero people don’t fuck up like this, supposedly. As a bisexual woman and a liberal, I’m just wondering if it will now be deemed disrespectful for this 79-year-old gay man to identify as he does or even to shape his lips to talk about struggles faced by those of us who aren’t straight? As far as his being closeted in Hollywood goes, um, what? He is rich, white, old, and male enough to not be suffering right now in the worst ways a gay person can. Did he even consider that those are the optics to a lot of put-upon online Murrican (and non-Murrican) commenters and readers who lack his wealth, and feel that they should be able to dictate which microaggressions and types of bigotry get discussed at all times? Like, he’s alive, not in jail, and no one’s been doing him bodily harm; he’s had a successful career as an actor, so what business does this old man have talking about the ‘plight’ of closeted rich gay white male Hollywood? He gets paid bajillions to act. Others Had It Worse in his distant youth, and Others Have It Worse In Other Countries now. A lot of people wonder if the wealthy individual members of marginalized groups ever think of gratitude before complaining.

    Could one arbitrarily yet officially just declare him un-gay? He’s just an old pile of trash at this point. In the very least, he’s making the entire LGBTQ monolith look very bad right now, with all the problems we already have. We’ve got to be the most woke, right? The left in general fights so, so hard for us. There’s no room for individual failings, or even annoying traits, within oppressed groups, is there? It would make things so much easier if we could up and revoke sexual orientations at times like this.

    • Renee2 says:

      @Otaku Fairy – No.

      You are right that he’s a pile of trash but you, nor any other LGBTQ person who is not an abuser needs to take on his shit. He is shameful on his own. I understand where you are coming from and I felt that way when the Jussie Smollett mess broke but then I realized that people who are ready to dismiss and disavow queer folks of color already deny the multiple violences committed against racialized and queer people. Straight white men on the whole aren’t ashamed of the violences that other members of that demographic perpetrate so you don’t need to take that on either, you have enough to deal with already!! I hope I’m not misinterpreting your comment.

  6. antipodean says:

    You know, I have great affection for this silly, OLD, thessy duffer, and he had to deal with the hideous constraints and downright illegality of being homosexual during his younger years in Britain. In his community of that time, it was a matter of survival that gentlemen of his persuasion operated in an atmosphere of subterfuge, and deep closeting. None of which exonerates him from his present troubling attitude. To conflate homosexuality with abuse and implicit victimhood is just wrong, and dangerous. He should not stick his head too far above the parapet though lest his own lecherous behaviour comes to the fore. Years ago it was well known in West End circles that Sir Ian expected a free ride in all respects from young attractive lads, and could get very waspish and vindictive if he was spurned. He is right to be somewhat fearful of his own murky doings coming to light.

  7. Nanny to the rescue says:

    I disagree, I think he’s absolutely right here:

    “I rather think that’s up to the public. Do you want to see someone who has been accused of something that you don’t approve of again? If the answer’s no, then you won’t buy a ticket, you won’t turn on the television.”

    Hollywood is a business. They are not worried about what’s right. They make movies they think they can sell, and if predators make them a lot of money, they will keep hiring predators. It’s on us to vote with our wallets.

    • Polly says:

      “It’s on us to vote with our wallets.”

      The problem is most people won’t, and not necessarily because they don’t care but because they’re not even aware of it. I’d be willing to bet that most people who went to see Bohemian Rhapsody have no idea who Bryan Singer is or what he’s been accused of. Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey are the more high profile names that everyone knows about but how many people remember the allegations against Dustin Hoffman for example? Plus, if the public see that these people are still working on major projects it only leads them to believe that the allegations weren’t serious, or that they were made up, or the the accused has already atoned when they haven’t.

      • Nanny to the rescue says:

        Then we need to do more on informing the public.

        Hollywood isn’t in the business of making the world a better place, they’re in the business of making themselves rich. They pretend to go with the flow because of the public outrage, which threatens to cause them a loss of money. But if, like with Bohemian Rhapsody, there will be (limited) public uproar but the money is going to be good, then eventually HW will stop listening to people protesting altogether.

        That being said, there are of course individuals in HW who do care, but I think they’re few and far apart and even half of those we think do care are just doing it for self-promotion.

    • Bella Bella says:

      Would be great if the marketing included, “Starring, X, Known Pedofile!” “Directored by Y, Accused Rapist!” “Produced by: Company headed by Serial Rapist!”

      Then people can make an educated decision about whether to spend their money or not.

      It could be mandatory like labels on cigarette packages.

  8. Mere says:

    I’m stumbling myself here. Leaving aside Ian McKellan’s comments, which were foolish, who is allowed to have a healthy skepticism? I thought the Jussie Smollet story sounded really fishy when I first heard it. But I felt guilty about that, and honestly wondered if I was a bad person given how forcefully people argued for his version on here. In this “cancel” culture, can only the police, or people with immediate access to real evidence, hold their minds open to alternative theories? It seems like we are being made to look like fools a bit lately with the lunge to believe. Perhaps that’s still what needs to happen so that victims will ultimately be believed more, but I do struggle with it.

    • Alissa says:

      +1 to be honest.

    • Itteh Bitteh says:

      I feel like what he was trying to say was, while we should always hear accusers out and believe them until we have a reason not to, we should also remember presumed innocent until proven guilty. We can be open to both sides of something while refusing to make a decision until investigation is done. Law enforcement does it every day.

  9. DS9 says:

    Gay men have spent untold amounts of time and energy attempting to dispel the hideous myth that their sexual orientation makes them more likely to harm children than the average bear and here comes this old goat validating those disgusting fears.

    What makes me most upset is the cache Mckellen holds with people who still believe this tripe and are active in spheres where the belief derails change.

    I’m thinking primarily of scouting. Those dorks love sci fi and still think gay boys and scout leaders are just waiting to molest kids. (My kid is one of those sci fi loving scout dorks and we are both actively championing gay scouts and leaders.)

    • Nancypants says:

      Sidenote: I know gay men aren’t more likely to abuse children but I just learned of this …place/abbey/retreat…for pregnant nuns.
      These places have existed for a long time.
      It makes you wonder how many were willing and how many weren’t.
      Good Lord.

  10. JRenee says:

    This effed up…