Actor Ian McKellen: Actresses Trading Sex for Roles was ‘Commonplace’ in Industry

Actor Ian McKellen: Actresses Trading Sex for Roles was ‘Commonplace’ in Industry

Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, we have found out two things: Men in Hollywood have a tendency to wield their power against women and men who want to break into the industry and become stars, and everyone knows about it and has kept quiet from fear of reprisal.

One actor, however, states that sexual harassment doesn’t always take place in Hollywood and in fact, some women actively trade sex for acting roles in movies and television shows. While this is not necessarily a good thing, he says that the actresses are not entirely innocent in the creation of an environment where sex is treated as a commodity, which puts future actresses in a bad situation.

In a lecture to Oxford Union, Sir Ian McKellen stated that women are not completely innocent in the sexual harassment scandals that are coming out.

“I hope we’re going through a period that will help to eradicate it altogether,” he stated. “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.”

“That was commonplace from people who proposed that they should be a victim. Madness,” he continued. “People have taken advantage of that and encouraged it and it absolutely will not do.”

If this is true, then we need to make it clear that this is not acceptable. There is no place in America to exchange sex for work. It’s degrading for everyone involved and it makes women feel like they’re only useful for their bodies, and if their acting talents aren’t that great, then they will still get the roles.

Women aren’t and should not be treated as commodities. Young women wishing to break into Hollywood will be made to feel like the only way to get ahead is to sleep with men in the industry. A woman with tremendous talent might be left out of a role because another woman with less talent agreed to sleep with the director. That’s not fair for anyone involved and quite frankly it’s disgusting.

If Sir Ian McKellen is telling the truth, then it’s not just the men in Hollywood who need to get their act together.

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