Martin Clunes criticised after accusing actresses of flirting with film producers and describing it as “a form of prostitution”

'Doc Martin' star called it "the oldest game in the book"

Martin Clunes has been met with a backlash after appearing to suggest that actresses flirt with film producers in order to get movie roles, describing it as “a form of prostitution”.

The Doc Martin and Men Behaving Badly star was speaking at a charity event this week when he reportedly said: “Some of these actresses, there are some draped over him in a club. If I did that to them I’d be… I don’t know. It’s not news that these predators allowed some people to… I don’t know.”

“Of course it’s absolutely ghastly,” Clunes is then quoted as saying. “It’s a form of prostitution — the oldest game in the book.”

Following the comments, many have criticised Clunes online. One Twitter user argued that Clunes’ comments show “a stunning lack of understanding of power imbalance issues in prostitution, Hollywood and hierarchical structures”. Another commenter said that “flirting is not permission for rape”.

Clunes has not yet responded to the controversy.

The comments come amid the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The Hollywood mogul is currently facing mounting accusations of rape, sexual harassment and other forms of misconduct by numerous women – allegations he “unequivocally denies”.

One of Weinstein’s accusers, Rose McGowan recently delivered a powerful speech on sexual assault in Hollywood.  McGowan thanked her supporters “for giving me wings during this very difficult time” and said: “The triggering has been insane – the monster’s face has been everywhere, my nightmare. I have been silenced for 20 years. I have been slut-shamed, I have been harassed, I have been maligned, and you know what? I am just like you. What happened to me behind the scenes happens to all of us in this society. It cannot stand and will not stand.”

  • For help, advice or more information regarding sexual assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.