Ian McKellen shared some controversial opinions about Kevin Spacey and Bryan Singer during a recent appearance on the #QueerAF podcast (via USA Today). McKellen has worked with both Spacey and Singer throughout his career but had yet to comment publicly on the sexual abuse allegations against them. When asked about the allegations, McKellen argued both men turned to abuse because they were not out as gay men at the time.
“Most of them were in the closet,” McKellen said. “Hence, all their problems as people and their relationship 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.”
Spacey came out as gay in his apology after first being accused of sexual misconduct by “Star Trek: Discovery” actor Anthony Rapp. McKellen was asked whether or not it was possible for both men to mount comebacks in the industry, but the actor said that wasn’t up to him to decide.
“I think that’s rather up to the public,” McKellen said. “Do you want to see someone who’s been accused of something that you don’t approve of? Do you ever want to see them again? If the answer is no, you won’t buy a ticket, you won’t turn on the television. But there may be others for whom that’s not a consideration.”
McKellen got even more polarizing when he cracked a joke about being accused of sexual harassment himself. “Well, frankly, I’m waiting for someone to accuse me of something,” he said, “And me wondering whether they’re not telling the truth and me having forgotten.”
Singer directed McKellen in numerous “X-Men” movies, in which the actor starred as Magneto, and they also worked on the film “Apt Pupil” together. Spacey and McKellen worked together when the former served as the artistic director of The Old Vic theatre. IndieWire has reached out to McKellen’s representatives for further comment.