Henry Cavill has apologized after finding himself the subject of much backlash following an interview in which he appeared to conflate flirting with rape.
The Man of Steel and Mission: Impossible - Fallout star discussed the #MeToo movement with GQ Australia before moving onto dating and flirting, suggesting that he was reluctant to approach women for fear of being accused of sexual assault.
After those comments were met with much backlash on social media, Cavill issued an apology via a representative for what he characterized as a "misunderstanding."
"Insensitivity was absolutely not my intention. In light of this, I would just like to clarify and confirm to all that I have always and will continue to hold women in the highest regard, no matter the type of relationship, whether it be friendship, professional or a significant other," Cavill said in his statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.
He continued, "Never would I intend to disrespect in any way, shape or form. This experience has taught me a valuable lesson as to the context and the nuance of editorial liberties. I look forward to clarifying my position in the future toward a subject that is so vitally important and in which I wholeheartedly support."
In the GQ Australia interview, Cavill discussed the #MeToo movement sweeping through Hollywood.
"I've been fortunate enough to not be around the kind of people who behave that way," he said, adding there had been "no moments when I look back and think, 'Ooh, OK, maybe someone shouldn't have gone through that."
When asked about how the movement has affected his own life, he said that "while stuff had to change" in regard to men's behavior, it was also "important to retain the good things, which were a quality of the past, and get rid of the bad things."
He said he employs an "old-fashioned" and "traditional approach" for romancing women.
“There’s something wonderful about a man chasing a woman. There’s a traditional approach to that, which is nice. I think a woman should be wooed and chased, but maybe I’m old-fashioned for thinking that,” he said. But Cavill says it’s “very difficult” to pursue a woman that way “if there are certain rules in place.”
“Because then it’s like, ‘Well, I don’t want to go up and talk to her, because I’m going to be called a rapist or something,’” he continued. “So you’re like, ‘Forget it, I’m going to call an ex-girlfriend instead and then just go back to a relationship, which never really worked.’ But it’s way safer than casting myself into the fires of hell, because I’m someone in the public eye, and if I go and flirt with someone, then who knows what’s going to happen?”
Those on social media called Cavill's words in the initial interview "absurd."
"This is absurd. If Henry Cavill doesn't want to be called a rapist then all he has to do is... not rape anyone," one person wrote. "The mental gymnastics some men are doing to position themselves as 'victims' of #MeToo is insane."
This is absurd. If Henry Cavill doesn’t want to be called a rapist then all he has to do is... not rape anyone.July 11, 2018
"I'm hoping that [Henry Cavill] was just grossly misquoted when it comes to the #MeToo movement. How do you just assume by talking to a woman she's going to accuse you of being a rapist? Have some common sense, dude," another person said.
I'm hoping that #HenryCavill was just grossly misquoted when it comes to the #MeToo movement. How do you just assume by talking to a woman she's going to accuse you of being a rapist? Have some common sense, dude.— Poomz (@The_Poomz) July 11, 2018