Out British actor Sir Ian McKellen has
criticized Kevin Spacey's decision to remain closeted during most of
his acting career.
The 78-year-old McKellen, who first
spoke publicly about his sexuality during an interview with the BBC
in 1988, is best known for playing Gandalf in the The Lord of the
Rings and The Hobbit trilogies and Magneto in the X-Men
films. Spacey (House of Cards) was the artistic director of
the Old Vic theater in London for roughly a decade ending in 2015.
In October, Spacey came out gay in
response to accusations of sexual misconduct from Anthony Rapp (Star
Trek: Discovery). Since Rapp came forward, at least 14 men have
revealed their “me too” stories.
During an appearance on BBC Radio 4's
Today, McKellen was asked whether Spacey should be allowed to
work again following the allegations.
“You're asking me if I believe in
redemption? Yes, I believe in redemption. Of course,” McKellen
“I wouldn't like to comment on that
case because there have been many accusations but they're not really
been gone into or understood. The one thing I would say about Mr.
Spacey is that he was a gay man and he was pretending not to be.”
“I always thought it a bit
distasteful that such a person could come to our country – where
the National Theatre at the time was being run by a gay man, and the
Royal Shakespeare by another – that we should have a closeted gay
man at the center of British theater,” he added.
McKellen worked alongside Spacey during
Spacey's tenure at the Old Vic theater.