Sir Ian McKellan: Actresses Are Partly To Blame for Casting Couch Culture

Right now, there are many eyes looking to Hollywood for reasons which are totally unrelated to film. Reasons such as the hidden, systemic and sickening pedophilia rings that exist within the industry, the existence of Satanic and very bizarre cults, plus the notion of sexual favours for work within certain productions. Yes, many eyes are currently on Hollywood, all of them wondering just what will happen next.

With the ♯MeToo sexual harassment scandals in full swing, the (not so) secret, yet well known casting couch culture of Hollywood has been exposed, causing actors like Matt Damon to recently get himself into a twist on the issues of sexual harassment and rape over social media for no good reason whatsoever… Perhaps, what we all just really need right now is Gandalf the Grey (or Gandalf the White if you prefer), aka Sir Ian McKellan to put it all into perspective when it comes to casting couch culture. He relates to women especially since he’s a gay man and all, so who better to make heads and tails of all of this and explain it to the masses, right? In hindsight, he’s probably not the best spokesman for women’s casting couch experiences.

Anyway, let’s hear what he had to say, since at 78, and in working for decades in film and at the theatre, he surely knows a thing or two about all of this. Sir Ian McKellan stated in a recent interview that, “women are partly to blame for the showbiz sex scandals”.

No leading ladies ever complained about sleeping with Alfred Hitchcock. Credit: Den of Geek

Sir Ian McKellan has suggested that since the 1960s, and presumably forever onwards, women have offered their bodies for sex in return for film and theatre roles. Does it seem surprising with so much money and fame on the line? Let’s think. Hmm.. No, it doesn’t seem surprising at all. Are people blissfully unaware at the lengths that some people will go for money and fame?

However, what’s been more surprising is that people have hardly thought of it until the year of 2017. Just think of how many of your favourite stars got down on their knees in front of someone in order to just get that coveted film role? The imagination and thoughts on such a mystery can be truly endless. That being said, is it right? No, it isn’t right, but does it happen anyway? Sadly, it does.

The actresses who have done so and the directors/producers involved are keeping it all under wraps, making it an unspoken truth, not for public consumption. Presently, nobody really knows all the answers on such a topic, or the extent of how many people have committed these acts behind the green door.

Unless of course it’s sexual harassment or rape, in which case it can be exposed as something much more horrible. It’s truly a terrible thing, and certainly not a “trade deal” between consenting adults, even though it wouldn’t be right anyway, even if it was consensual.

Sir Ian McKellan said that some actresses tell directors that they will sleep with them to win certain roles. What a bargaining tool, eh?

Looks like he’s talked his way into some trouble here, on part of actresses. Credit: NewNowNext

Sir Ian added at a talk at the Oxford Union just recently, “People must be called out and it’s sometimes very difficult for victims to do that.”

If they’re offering sex for roles, then are they really victims, or just plain opportunists wishing to beat out the competition? You can’t cry wolf after the fact, unless it was sexual harassment or rape.

“I hope we’re going through a period that will help to eradicate it altogether. But from my own experience, when I was starting acting in the early sixties, the director of the theatre I was working at showed me some photographs he got from women who were wanting jobs… 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.”

You cannot play victim after offering sexual services in order to be chosen for a film or theatre role, right? However, there is a difference if directors or producers demand sex in return for gaining roles. Do you see the difference? Do you see the fine line that needs to be walked? At the end of the day, none of this should exist in the industry in the first place – bottom line – but can Hollywood as a whole really make it all go away?

Sir Ian McKellan elaborated during his speech, “That was commonplace from people who proposed that they should be a victim. Madness. People have taken advantage of that and encouraged it and it absolutely will not do.”

Sir Ian is also worried about wrongful accusations and people pointing the finger to merely stir up controversy, or just to gain some attention: “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.”

Sir Ian McKellan spoke his mind about women in the industry, but not on any of the other problems within the industry. McKellan has been a lobbyist and speaker for gay rights since he came out of the closet in 1988, but when Spacey admitted that he was gay, after he had been accused of sexually harassing and attempting to force himself on a 15-year old boy (Anthony Rapp), thus shifting the attention onto his sexuality instead… Truly a horrible attempt at covering up underage sex and preying on a young boy. Let’s just all remember that… To think that Sir Ian actually worked with Kevin Spacey at The Old Vic in 2004 and also starred alongside Brad Renfro, with Bryan Singer in the film, ‘Apt Pupil’. Brad Renfro is no longer with us and Bryan Singer has been known to like his fair share of young boys too. Hmmm? Surely there’s nothing there, either.

Anyway, Ian McKellan is a good man as you can tell and he’s in the clear. Not the same can be said for Kevin Spacey and Bryan Singer, though.

Sir Ian McKellen, pictured with Kevin Spacey in 2009. Credit: REX Shutterstock

Sir Ian McKellan stated the following on the Kevin Spacey matter at the Oxford Union: “The circumstances in which he chose to do it are reprehensible because it linked alleged underage sex with a declaration of sexuality.”

Just imagine if even worse revelations come out of Hollywood, such as stories involving countless child stars in the industry, many of whom seemingly die at young ages due to drug abuse, alcohol or suicide. We hope and pray that it doesn’t get worse than it is right now, however, that’s not the topic of this article.

Do you agree with Sir Ian McKellan, even though he might not be the best person to understand the perspective of women facing the casting couch in the film industry? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Lastly, in a show of solidarity, women who wear black at the Golden Globes and Oscars this year will be symbolising an unspoken protest against sexual harassment within Hollywood. It will be interesting to see what the planned theme for the 2018 Oscars will actually be, as well as what the notoriously unfunny host Jimmy Kimmel will come up with as he’s presenting the show.

Eyerolls at the ready, everyone! Hopefully the focus of the Oscars will still be on the films. If only they could just get rid of Jimmy Kimmel…


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Featured Photo Credit: Getty Images

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