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Jeremy Irons Clarifies His Positions On Same-Sex Marriage And Abortion After His Past Controversial Comments Are Met With Backlash

Jeremy Irons Clarifies His Positions On Same-Sex Marriage And Abortion After His Past Controversial Comments Are Met With Backlash
Andreas Rentz / Getty Images

As the Berlin International Film Festival gets started, actor Jeremy Irons used the opportunity to clarify some past controversial statements he's made.

Saying he didn't want the comments to be "a distraction to the Berlinale" he reaffirmed his positions on social issues that have been questioned the past several years.

Which might seem like overkill, but when you hear what he said, you'll understand people's hesitance.

When Irons was appointed jury president for this year's Berlin Film Festival, the controversy surrounding past statements bubbled up again.

He took the time to quickly address what he had previously said.

"Let me make my views this morning entirely clear on these particular subjects once and for all. Firstly, I support wholeheartedly the global movement to address the inequality of women's rights, and to protect them from abusive, damaging, and disrespectful harassment, both at home and in the workplace."

This is believed to be in reference to two different events. In 2009, Irons was criticized for signing a petition in support of convicted pedophile and rapist, Roman Polanski.

Then in 2011, in an interview with the U.K.'s Radio Times, the actor said:

"If a man puts his hand on a woman's bottom, any woman worth her salt can deal with it. It's communication. Can't we be friendly?"

Which is, you know, not great.

He next stated his positions on same-sex marriage and a woman's right to choose.

"Secondly, I applaud the legislation of same-sex marriage, wherever it has been attained, and I hope that such enlightened legislation will continue to spread into more and more societies."
"And thirdly, I support wholeheartedly the right of women to have an abortion, should they so decide."

The abortion comment comes from a moment in 2016 where he made a strange "both sides" type of argument. In an interview with The Guardian, he got on the subject of the religious structure of society.

From there he said:

"Take abortion. I believe women should be allowed to make the decision, but I also think the church is right to say it's a sin."
"Because sin is actions that harm us. Lying harms us. Abortion harms a woman – it's a tremendous mental attack, and physical, sometimes. But we seem to get that muddled."

If there is one thing Jeremy Irons is good at, it's acting. A close second would be accidentally presenting his philosophical questions about the world as his personal opinions.

Still, many people are taking him at his word that he supports these progressive causes.

However, it's his controversial questions about same-sex marriage that are most perplexing. Back in 2013, in an interview with the Huffington Post, Irons stated that he didn't have strong feelings either way on the issue.

But he did ask a weird question.

"Could a father not marry his son?"

Which again, needs clarification.

Specifically, he was putting this situation forward in reference to avoiding tax law. A father marries his son, dies, and then the estate passes onto the son tax-free.

"It's not incest between men [because] incest is there to protect us from inbreeding, but men don't breed."

Which is not a harmless thing to say, but you get the sense Irons didn't really think through the consequences of his statement.

As Irons states it, those issues are all in the past, as he's clarified his stance on these social issues.

"I hope that some of the films we will be watching will address these problems, among many others we face in our world, and I look forward to watching films in this year's Berlinale which will provoke us to question attitudes, prejudices, and worldwide perceptions of life as we know it."
"I hope that's put my past comments to bed."