Angela Lansbury clarifies her remarks on sexual harassment after backlash

Star was criticized after saying women are sometimes to "blame" for harassment.

November 30, 2017, 2:18 PM
PHOTO: Angela Lansbury attends the 2017 Irish Repertory Theatre Gala at Town Hall, June 13, 2017, in New York City.
Angela Lansbury attends the 2017 Irish Repertory Theatre Gala at Town Hall, June 13, 2017, in New York City.
Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images

— -- Angela Lansbury has clarified remarks she made about sexual harassment after she was widely criticized for saying women must sometimes "take blame."

"There is no excuse whatsoever for men to harass women in an abusive sexual manner," the 92-year-old "Murder, She Wrote" star said in a statement to People. "And, I am devastated that anyone should deem me capable of thinking otherwise. Those who have known the quality of my work and the many public statements I have made over the course of my life must know that I am a strong supporter of Women’s Rights."

The actress added that she was "troubled by how quickly and brutishly some have taken my comments out of context and attempted to blame my generation, my age, or my mindset, without having read the entirety of what I said."

Lansbury released the statement after she was criticized for remarks she made about sexual harassment during a recent interview with the Radio Times.

In the interview, Lansbury said "there are two sides to this coin."

"We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately, it has backfired on us -- and this is where we are today," Lansbury said.

She went on to say, "We must sometimes take blame, women. I really do think that. Although it's awful to say we can't make ourselves look as attractive as possible without being knocked down and raped."

Lansbury also added that there was "no excuse" for women being harassed.

"Should women be prepared for this? No, they shouldn't have to be," she 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."

After Lansbury's initial remarks, Rape Crisis England & Wales released a statement saying, "It is a deeply unhelpful myth that rape and other forms of sexual violence are caused or ‘provoked’ by women’s sexuality or ‘attractiveness.'"

Patricia Arquette took Lansbury to task on Twitter. "It doesn't matter how young or old, how beautiful or homely. Rapists rape. End of story," the actress wrote.

Designer Donna Karan made similar remarks to Lansbury's in the immediate aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal when she suggested that women were "asking for it" by how they dressed. She later apologized and, in an interview with ABC News' Robin Roberts, said, "What I said is so wrong and not who I am." Weinstein denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.

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