Facing a firing squad of woke journalists, actor Jeremy Irons has publicly atoned for his past comments on abortion, same-sex marriage, and sexual harassment ahead of this year’s Berlin Film Festival, where the actor is serving as jury president.
The Reversal of Fortune star reportedly told journalists gathered at a press conference Thursday that he wanted to “put to bed” the brewing controversy that was threatening to dominate his tenure at the prestigious cinematic event.
“Let me make my views entirely clear on these particular subjects once and for all,” he said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“First, I support wholeheartedly the movement to address women’s rights and to protect them from harassment at home and in workplace. Second, I applaud the legislation for same-sex marriage where it has been attained. I hope that such enlightened legislation will continue to spread. Third, I supported wholeheartedly the right of women to have an abortion should they so decide.”
Irons is known among entertainment reporters for speaking frankly during interviews and making provocative statements with scant regard for the possible media fallout.
On Thursday, Irons attempted to appease the journalists who dug up some of his old comments , including one in which he expressed reservations about abortion, noting that it puts tremendous physical burdens on the mother.
“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,” Irons told The Guardian in 2016.
“Abortion harms a woman — it’s a tremendous mental attack, and physical, sometimes. But we seem to get that muddled. In a way, thank God the Catholic church does say we won’t allow it, because otherwise nobody’s saying that it’s a sin.”
Irons was also feeling the heat for his comments to the Sunday Times in 2013 suggesting that the public was overreacting to allegations of sexual misconduct that occurred during the 1970s, saying that much of the misconduct was “relatively innocuous.”
“There was a sort of sexual freedom. To have all that dragged up for something relatively innocuous — that’s tough. They seem to be in a mood to pillory anybody,” he told the newspaper.
Irons told the Huffington Post the same year that he had some reservations about same-sex marriage, saying it could lead to fathers marrying their sons for tax purposes.
“I worry that [same-sex marriage] means somehow we debase, or we change, what marriage is. I just worry about that,” he said. But he added that he doesn’t have strong feelings about same-sex marriage one way or another, saying that he “[wishes] everybody who’s living with one other person the best of luck in the world, because it’s fantastic.”
As an actor, Irons has gravitated toward controversial and sexually provocative material, including Dead Ringers, Damage, and the 1997 film adaptation of Lolita.
He was most recently seen in the critically acclaimed HBO series Watchmen.
Irons reportedly said Thursday at the Berlin Film Festival that he didn’t want his past comments to “continue as a distraction” to the festival.