The Weinstein reckoning dominated red carpet interviews at last night’s Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards and trickled into the ceremony itself.
In one speech, Russell Crowe also acknowledged the need for “sensitivity” in the current climate, but in probably the most tone-deaf way possible.
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The Gladiator alum gave a tongue-in-cheek anecdote about “sodomising Jacqueline McKenzie on the set of Romper Stomper” that was so inappropriate it was cut from broadcast, but reported by The Guardian.
“I didn’t actually intend to do that — I was trying to keep my bits away from her bits, and she’s been given one of those pieces of elastic that the girls get when you do those scenes, which protects them from all things, and my bits and pieces were in a little canvas sack with a drawstring,” Crowe explained.
“And it was actually my desire to keep the bits apart. It wasn’t until the opening night of the film that it was pointed out by none other than Jackie McKenzie’s beautiful late mother that we were in fact, in her mind, engaged in sodomy. Anyway that was just a story about sensitivity!” he continued.
The story was especially uncomfortable thanks to McKenzie, who was present at the AACTA ceremony, revealing last week she had endured “sexual harassment, bullying, groping, lascivious comments and unwanted advances” during her career as an actor.
“The people involved were protected, the behaviour was ignored or swept under the rug,” she told The Australian. “One response to a legal letter I did send — demanding an assurance I would be safe on set — was met by the producer saying: ‘I can’t give this letter to him [an actor]. He’ll go crazy.’”
Geoffrey Rush stepped down as president of the AACTA board earlier this week after a complaint of "inappropriate behaviour" from two years ago surfaced, which he denies.