McKellen, star of “Lord of the Rings” and “X-Men,” said during a recent appearance at Oxford Union that when he started his career in the early 1960s, some women applied for theater jobs with photographs marked with a special message to the directors.
“The director of the theater I was working at showed me some photographs he got from women who were wanting jobs,” he said. “They were actors. And some of them had ― I think these were the initials ― 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 for people who proposed that they should be a victim. Madness.”
McKellen, who is gay, called Kevin Spacey’s coming-out in response to misconduct allegations “reprehensible.” He expressed hope that predatory behavior could be “eradicated.”
“I assume nothing but good will come out of these revelations, even though some people of course get wrongly accused — there’s that side of it as well,” he said.
McKellen’s comments last month are coming to light after the Daily Mail posted an article about them. Many of his remarks on sexual harassment occur after the 41:45 mark in the video above.