RUSTLING UP SOME KIND OF SORRY Crowe ex­plains away bizarre sex scene story

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News - KRIS CRANE

RUS­SELL Crowe was forced to apol­o­gise yes­ter­day for the bizarre anec­dote about film­ing a sex scene he told the crowd at Aus­tralia’s ver­sion of the Os­cars, say­ing he didn’t meant to of­fend any­one with his “half cringe-half laugh” story. As Time mag­a­zine crowned vic­tims speak­ing out against sex­ual abuse in the me­dia in­dus­try through the #metoo move­ment as its Per­son of the Year, Crowe stunned the au­di­ence at the AACTA awards by re­count­ing how he ac­ci­den­tally “sodomised’’ Rom­per Stom­per co-star Jac­que­line McKen­zie dur­ing film­ing. It came af­ter McKen­zie’s re­cent rev­e­la­tion she had en­dured “sex­ual ha­rass­ment, bul­ly­ing, grop­ing, las­civ­i­ous com­ments and un­wanted ad­vances” dur­ing her long stage and screen ca­reer. The AACTA awards had al­ready been marred when Crowe’s fel­low Os­car-win­ner Ge­of­frey Rush stepped down as pres­i­dent over claims he de­nies of “in­ap­pro­pri­ately touch­ing” a fe­male co-star dur­ing a Syd­ney Theatre Com­pany pro­duc­tion. Crowe’s speech was so ex­plicit that Chan­nel 7 edited it out of its cov­er­age. The Gla­di­a­tor actor — bet­ter known for his dra­matic roles than his comedic per­for­mances — yes­ter­day said it was just a bad at­tempt at mak­ing peo­ple laugh.

“Ac­tors and ac­tresses by the na­ture of our job get thrown into some em­bar­rass­ing, bizarre and ex­treme cir­cum­stances,” he said.

“It’s an ironic com­bi­na­tion that the sen­si­tiv­ity re­quired for the job also has 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.

“I didn’t mean any of­fence to any­one and it wasn’t a com­ment on other is­sues,” Crowe said.

McKen­zie — who is also star­ring in the new TV ver­sion of Rom­per Stom­per — yes­ter­day said Crowe’s joke “bears no rel­e­vance” to the “very im­por­tant con­ver­sa­tion of sex­ual ha­rass­ment”.

I was only in­tend­ing to make peo­ple laugh Rus­sell Crowe

Rus­sell Crowe at the AACTA awards on Wed­nes­day night, and (in­set) in Rom­per Stom­per with Jac­que­line McKen­zie.

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