Angela Lansbury Responds To Backlash Over Sexual Harassment Comments

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Update: November 29, 9:0o p.m. EST: Today, Lansbury responded to the backlash in an exclusive statement to Deadline: "There is no excuse whatsoever for men to harass women in an abusive sexual manner. And, I am devastated that anyone should deem me capable of thinking otherwise," Lansbury told the outlet. "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."
Although the comments were problematic, it's worth noting that Lansbury does, as she says, have a track record of supporting women's causes. She has worked with various charities throughout her career, including Abused Wives in Crisis, an organization that seeks to educate people about domestic violence and provides support and crisis intervention to victims.
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Lansbury also told Deadline that her comments were "taken out of context" and she is "troubled" by what she viewed as a rush to judgement regarding her stance on sexual harassment.
Lansbury did say in her initial interview that women shouldn't have to constantly be on guard because we could be assaulted at any moment, and she stated that she "think[s] it will stop now" because "a lot of men must be very worried at this point."
The idea that sexual violence will become a thing of the past because men are worried is an overly simplistic view of the issue, but hopefully Lansbury's prediction won't sound quite so far-fetched in a few years.
Original story was published on November 28, 2017.
The recent sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein have led to many long overdue conversations about workplace sexual harassment and revived the #MeToo movement started 10 years ago by Tarana Burke.
Unfortunately, whenever the topic of sexual misconduct is placed front and center, it opens the door for people to make wildly inaccurate and offensive victim-blaming statements. As much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, beloved icon Angela Lansbury threw around a whole lot of victim-blaming comments during an interview today.
"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 told Radio Times.
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Say what? But wait, there's more. "Should women be prepared for this? No, they shouldn’t have to be! There’s no excuse for that," she continued. "And I think it will stop now – it will have to. I think a lot of men must be very worried at this point."
So Lansbury seems to think that, because a handful of men are finally being held accountable for their actions, sexual violence is officially about to become a thing of the past.
I hardly know where to begin (why, Angela, why?), but Twitter users quickly took Lansbury to task for her problematic comments.
And plenty of people weren't here for the excuse that Lansbury was raised during a different era. As one user pointed out, her age means she had a front-row seat to decades of social progress and change.
Of course, people were also eager to dispel the myth that women are sexually assaulted and raped because of how they dress. (Seriously, can this myth please go away already? How many times do we have to explain that sexual violence is about power, not appearance?)
Lansbury also told the outlet that during her lengthy career she was never subjected to sexual harassment or abuse. I'm genuinely happy and relieved to hear that she was spared something awful that so many other women have endured, but I hope she does some reflecting and recognizes that women who have suffered at the hands of powerful men aren't to blame.
She may be 92, but it's never too late to learn a thing or two about sexual violence.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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