Angela Lansbury: Women must 'sometimes take blame' for sexual harassment
The actress' statements have already sparked a backlash on social media
Twitter users weren’t expecting this when Angela Lansbury‘s name began trending on Tuesday: the Murder, She Wrote star made controversial claims to Radio Times about how “there are two sides to this coin” of sexual harassment.
“We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive,” the 92-year-old said. “And unfortunately it has backfired on us — and this is where we are today.”
“We must sometimes take blame, women. I really do think that,” she added. “Although it’s awful to say we can’t make ourselves look as attractive as possible without being knocked down and raped.”
Lansbury emphasized for the article that blame should not be placed on the victims of harassment or assault, but a backlash has already begun brewing across social media in light of her statements. BBC World journalist Julia Macfarlane also shared a photo of the printed piece from Radio Times.
“Should women be prepared for this? No, they shouldn’t have to be,” Lansbury said. “There’s no excuse for that. And I think it will stop now — it will have to. I think a lot of men must be very worried at this point.”
A rep for Lansbury could not immediately be reached for further comment.
“It is a deeply unhelpful myth that rape and other forms of sexual violence are caused or ‘provoked’ by women’s sexuality or ‘attractiveness,’” a spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales told The Telegraph. “Rape is an act of sexual violence, power and control that has little to nothing to do with sexual desire. It is as insulting to men as it is to anyone to suggest they’re unable to take responsibility for their own behaviors and that the way a woman presents herself can cause them to lose control or force them to sexually harass or assault her.
“There is no excuse or mitigation for sexual violence and there is no circumstance in which it’s even partially the victim’s or survivor’s fault,” the statement continued. “Until we accept and acknowledge that, it will be very difficult for us as a society to reduce or prevent rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment or sexual abuse.”
Since decades of sexual harassment and assault claims were revealed against Harvey Weinstein, the now-disgraced movie mogul behind The Weinstein Company, a movement of other women have come forward in solidarity with the victims and to bring other instances of sexual misconduct to light.
“We’re always going to see it happen again. We just might reduce it,” Judd Apatow, one of the figures voicing support for the victims, said. “Because there’s always rapists, there’s always murderers. There’s always people who commit sexual harassment. It’s just about how we deal with it. It’s never going to be gone, but we can say it’s not acceptable at all, and then hopefully it changes the frequency. I think that’s happening; I think that will happen. I do think that this is going to change the way a lot of people do business. I’m very hopeful about it, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to go away completely.”