Jeremy Irons: Prior Same-Sex Marriage, Abortion Comments Shouldn’t ‘Continue as Distraction to Berlinale’

British actor Jeremy Irons, this year’s president of the international jury at the Berlin Film Festival, has spoken out about prior controversies surrounding his alleged views on same-sex marriage and abortion.

Irons opened the jury’s press conference on Thursday, calling it a “privilege” to have been named president, but wasted no time in addressing comments made to the press over the last 10 years about gay marriage and abortion.

“I should like, not as the jury president, but on a personal level to address various comments that I have reportedly made in the past, and which have resurfaced in certain sections of the press over the past few weeks. I wish I didn’t have to take up time with this, but I don’t want it to continue as a distraction to the Berlinale,” he told journalists.

“My past comments, already refuted and apologized for, refer to three subjects…that are very much in our minds these days, and rightly so: sexual abuse, same-sex marriage, and abortion.

“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,” he said.

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“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.

“These three human rights are, I believe, essential steps toward a civilized and humane society, for which we should all continue to strive. There are many parts of the world where these rights do not yet exist, where such ways of living lead to imprisonment, and even to death.

“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.”

More to come.

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