Ian McKellen says the closet is to blame for the alleged abuse of Kevin Spacey and Bryan Singer.
The gay Lord of the Rings actor proposed this eyebrow-raising theory during a live panel of the #QueerAF podcast with BBC journalist Evan Davis.
“Both of them were in the closet. Hence, all their problems as people and their relationship with other people,” McKellen said. “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.”
McKellen's argument shifts blame from the alleged predator to society, echoing how both Spacey and Singer responded to their respective accusations.
When Star Trek: Discovery star Anthony Rapp first came forward with an accusation against Spacey in 2017, for example, the House of Cards actor responded by coming out and conflating his "behavior" with his repressed sexuality.
"I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior," Spacey stated at the time — to the disgust of LGBTQ Hollywood. Since Rapp's allegation, multiple men have come forward with their own.
After The Atlantic published an article in January with multiple allegations that Singer, the bisexual director of Bohemian Rhapsody, had sex with underage boys, Singer called it a "homophobic smear piece" — thereby shifting blame to societal stigma in lieu of admitting personal responsibility.
Speaking with Davis, McKellen — who starred as Magento in the Singer-directed X-Men — worried that the #MeToo movement may arrive at his door as well. “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," he said.
McKellen also said it was "debatable" whether Singer and Spacey should be “forced to stop working" in light of the allegations. “I rather think that’s up to the public," he said. "Do you want to see someone who has been accused of something that you don’t approve of? Do you ever want to see them 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 whom that’s not a consideration. And it’s difficult to be exactly black and white.”
Watch the discussion below.