Russell Crowe has apologised after he made a joke about “sodomising” a female co-star.
The actor was speaking at the 2017 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) awards in Sydney on Wednesday night (December 6) when he spoke about the need for greater “sensitivity” in the film industry, before telling an anecdote about filming a sex scene with co-star Jacqui McKenzie for 1992 movie Romper Stomper.
“I was sodomising Jacqui McKenzie on the set of Romper Stomper, and I didn’t actually intend to do that,” Crowe said. “I was trying to keep my bits away from her bits, and she’s been given one of those pieces of elastic that the girls get when you do those scenes, which protects them from all things, and my bits and pieces were in a little canvas sack with a drawstring”.
“And it wasn’t actually in my desire to keep the bits apart. It wasn’t until the opening night of the film that it was pointed out by none other than Jacqui McKenzie’s beautiful late mother that we were in fact, in her mind, engaged in sodomy. Anyway, that was just a story about sensitivity!”
Crowe’s comments were criticised for being “tone deaf” in the current climate and following a series of sexual misconduct allegations in Hollywood.
Crowe has since apologised for his remarks, saying in a statement: “Actors and actresses by the nature of our job get thrown into some embarrassing, bizarre and extreme circumstances. It’s an ironic combination that sensitivity required for the job has also to be coupled with an ability to put aside your embarrassment and fears and cope with the humiliation.”
“Jacquie and I survived that moment in our young careers because we looked after each other. Our friendship has only strengthened over the years and it’s a story we both cringe and laugh over. The way I delivered the story was to elicit that half cringe/half laugh reaction. Obviously I was only intending to make people laugh. Especially Jacquie, and she did.”
Crowe added: “I didn’t mean any offence to anyone and it wasn’t a comment on other issues.” Read his statement in full beneath.
— Ben Fordham (@BenFordham) December 7, 2017
McKenzie herself has defended Crowe, stating that there had been “no blurry lines” while shooting the sex scene in question and that the anecdote “bears no relevance” to the “very important conversation of sexual harassment in the workplace”.
“Russell was reflecting on the indignities of shooting a particular scene,” McKenzie wrote. “Over the eons, he and I have often laughed at the awkwardness we felt shooting that scene,” adding that “the crew dealt ‘sensitively’ with the both of us as we all navigated a confronting scene”.
See McKenzie’s statement in full below.
— jacqueline mckenzie (@JMcKenzie) December 7, 2017