BBC News

Henry Cavill: Actor apologises after #MeToo rape backlash

Published
Related Topics
  • Hollywood sexual harassment scandal
image copyrightWarner Bros
image captionCavill, who stars as Superman, expressed confusion over dating boundaries in the #MeToo era

Superman actor Henry Cavill has apologised for claiming that the #MeToo movement has left him scared to date women for fear of being "called a rapist".

In a statement, Cavill addressed the "confusion and misunderstanding" over his GQ interview.

"Insensitivity was absolutely not my intention", he continued, confirming he holds women in "the highest regard".

The comments sparked both empathy and anger online.

What did Cavill originally say?

The British actor made the outspoken comments during an interview with GQ Australia, as part of his promotional activities for Mission Impossible: Fallout.

When asked how #MeToo affected him, Cavill said that while society "had to change" regarding the treatment of women, the altered landscape has left him feeling unsure about "chasing a woman".

image copyrightEPA
image captionCavill features alongside Tom Cruise in the latest Mission Impossible film

"I think a woman should be wooed and chased, but maybe I'm old-fashioned for thinking that," he admitted.

"It's very difficult to do that if there are certain rules in place. Because then it's like: 'Well, I don't want to go up and talk to her, because I'm going to be called a rapist or something.'

"So you're like, 'Forget it. I'm going to call an ex-girlfriend instead, and then just go back to a relationship, which never really worked,'" he continued.

"But it's way safer than casting myself into the fires of hell, because I'm someone in the public eye, and if I go and flirt with someone, then who knows what's going to happen?"

'Absurd' or 'unspoken truth'?

The comments proved divisive on social media - while many were quick to attack Cavill for his "absurd " views, a number of men echoed Cavill's sense of confusion.

Much of the criticism focused on the way he appeared to conflate asking a woman out with committing sexual assault.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Grace Petrie also attacked Cavill's belief that a woman "should be chased".

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

But others felt that the Man of Steel actor, rather than speaking maliciously, had simply used a poor choice of words, and called for a more considered response.

"I like to think I know what he meant," wrote Rhonda.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Others expressed support for Cavill's comments, arguing the #MeToo movement had turned dating into a "minefield", particularly for Hollywood stars navigating a post-Weinstein era.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Elsewhere, others, including Twitter user Rulian, called for a more nuanced debate, in which rational voices do not get "drowned out".

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

Related Topics

More on this story

  • What has #MeToo actually changed?