By Nick Romano
July 13, 2018 at 12:32 PM EDT
Credit: Kristy Sparow/Getty Images

Henry Cavill has apologized for comments he made in a recent magazine profile about the #MeToo movement and male fears about flirting.

“Having seen the reaction to an article in particular about my feelings on dating and the #metoo movement, I just wanted to apologize for any confusion and misunderstanding that this may have created,” the Justice League and Mission: Impossible – Fallout star said in a statement, released on social media through his rep. “Insensitivity was absolutely not my intention. In light of this I would just like to clarify and confirm to all that I have always and will continue to hold women in the highest of regard, no matter the type of relationship whether it be friendship, professional, or a significant other.”

He continued, “Never would I intend to disrespect in any way, shape or form. This experience has taught me a valuable lesson as to the context and the nuance of editorial liberties.”

Cavill came under fire when GQ Australia published a profile on the 35-year-old actor in which he was asked about whether the revelations from #MeToo and Time’s Up made him reflect on his own behavior towards women.

“I like to think that I’ve never been like that. I think any human being alive today, if someone casts too harsh a light on anything, you could be like, ‘Well, OK, yeah, when you say it like that, maybe,'” Cavill said. “But it’s such a delicate and careful thing to say because there’s flirting which, for example, in a social environment is in context – and is acceptable. And that has been done to me as well, in return.”

It was his later remarks that stirred up a controversy, which occurred while Cavill was in Paris ahead of the world premiere of the sixth Mission: Impossible movie.

“There’s something wonderful about a man chasing a woman,” he went on to say. “There’s a traditional approach to that, which is nice. I think a woman should be wooed and chased, but maybe I’m old-fashioned for thinking that. 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.’ 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?”

“Now?” Cavill added. “Now you really can’t pursue someone further than, ‘No’. It’s like, ‘OK, cool’. But then there’s the, ‘Oh why’d you give up?’ And it’s like, ‘Well, because I didn’t want to go to jail?’”

Criticism like the kind Cavill received has come up in the past surrounding opinion pieces from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and others about the end of flirting. Many on social media stated such remarks imply that women can’t differentiate flirting from sexual harassment, and neither can the men perpetrating it.

Cavill concluded his apology by saying, “I look forward to clarifying my position in the future towards a subject that it so vitally important and in which I wholeheartedly support.”