Helen Mirren doesn’t retract date rape comments, wants them taken in context

Oscar winning actress Helen Mirren, 63, sparked a lot of debate with her comments on date rape, which were part of a longer interview with GQ Magazine. She said that she had been date raped twice as a young girl and that she doesn’t think women can take men to court for date rape in situations where it gets as far as them being in the same room naked together. At least that’s what other outlets claim she said. So far everyone has been going on excerpts from the interview because it’s only in the print edition of the magazine and there are just specific quotes online.

Mirren claims her quotes are accurate but that they need to be taken in context. Maybe she should have one of her people type that shit up and post it somewhere, because not a lot of people outside the UK are going to be motivated or able to find the British edition of GQ. As it is, I think Mirren’s comments may have dented her sterling reputation a little:

“Helen Mirren does not dispute the accuracy of statements attributed to her in an upcoming GQ article,” read a statement released Tuesday by Mirren’s publicist, Stan Rosenfield.
“She merely asks that people read the article in its entirety before drawing conclusions. If they do that, she says, their conclusions will likely be far less sweeping and sensational than those drawn by some in the popular press. She does not wish to qualify any of her remarks. She just wants to avoid having them presented in inflammatory language.”

The queen of salty award-show chatter needn’t fear—her lingo is entertaining enough on its own.

[From E! Online]

I showed the Daily Mail’s account of Mirren’s comments to a friend of mine and her mouth went open and she thought her statements were outrageous. She theorized that Mirren is still trying to deal with what she went through and that she’s still suffering the emotional pain and guilt after being raped twice. I would be inclined to believe that Mirren wasn’t being as broad sweeping about date rape as it sounded, but she did say “it [date rape] is one of the many subtle parts of the men/women relationship that has to be negotiated and worked out between them,” and that she didn’t think Mike Tyson was a rapist! It was like she was claiming that women should just deal with it. It was the Mike Tyson part that really got me, because the guy is known as a violent multiple ear-biting convict. Just because a woman went up to his hotel room doesn’t mean she owed it to him.

If I can find British GQ I’ll read what she said though, and if my mind is changed I’ll tell you why. I’m not holding my breath though.

Helen Mirren is shown christening a cruise ship on 4/16/08. I am aware that this is an unfortunate photo choice given the subject. Credit: James Newell / WENN

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23 Responses to “Helen Mirren doesn’t retract date rape comments, wants them taken in context”

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  1. vdantev says:

    Genie’s out of the bottle darling, too late to close the cap.

  2. Ethan says:

    I think she was raised in an era in which women were told things to keep quiet.

    It is so sad, she doesn’t understand till this very day that what was done to her was wrong- NOT HER FAULT and that she can accuse the person who did that to her.

    I assume they made her think it’s somehow her fault as well, and she has some sort of guilt.

    So sad.

  3. anastasiabeaverhausen says:

    Wow. I have to *totally* disagree with her. A lot of moms I know with teen sons are teaching them the right way–ANY kind of no means no. Any kind of indication to back off means BACK OFF.

    I’m glad of this. Maybe, just maybe, this kind of thing will be reduced in the future.

    I will never forget the three guys in high school who ASSumed I would go down on them and proceeded to try to force me to (none were successful and one nearly got his shit bit off). It was so freaking demeaning. That was over 20 years ago and it still pisses me off.

  4. Rosanna says:

    In a way I understand what she means. The word “date rape”, means that there was a date, right? That is to say, the two persons were interested, at least theoretically, in one another. Then one changed her mind. However, a man who assumes that you are interested in him because you accepted to get out with him, is not as bad as a man who sees you on the street and just rapes you. That’s what she intended to say… that when you go out on a date things are blurry because of course the other person is inclined to think you are interested. I don’t totally agree with her, but I see her point.

  5. gimmeabreak says:

    it seems like her point was not to blame women for date rape, but rather to say that prosecuting date rape is difficult. one need only to look at conviction rates to know how right she is. considering that this was an interview for a men’s magazine, it would have been nice for her to say something about rape prevention, rather than just dwelling on how “complicated” an acquaintance rape can be.

  6. xiaoecho says:

    CB, you are right and so are the thousands who are outraged at her statements. She is using the hackneyed “I was taken out of context’ excuse. I wouldn’t be surprised if she honestly doesn’t know what she said that was so offensive – she seems to have internalised the attitude that women are responsible for mens sexuality…i.e. the Mike Tyson comment.

    Rosanna…..Rape is rape, whether it is a stranger or someone you know. You are in trouble if, as your comments seem to indicate, you think that just because you are on a ‘date’ you have signaled your interest in someone and so are obliged to have sex. Agreeing to consort with someone (a date) does not automatically imply consent to sexual activity

    Anistasiabea….My heart goes out to you – sexual assault injures womens psyches the most – it never goes away

  7. anastasiabeaverhausen says:

    Rosanna, agreeing to go on a date with someone is NOT the same thing as agreeing to have sex with them!

  8. Julia says:

    Here is an example of why date rape is still rape:

    I went out on a date with a guy. To accept, I had to have been at least marginally interested. By the end of the date, I was not.

    When I said I had to get home, he griped about how he’d “wasted his night” if I were to depart at a time that he thought was too early.

    I’d made the mistake of letting him drive, and during the ride home, he kept touching my legs. He then proceeded to turn into a dark parking lot near my house and park. He locked the doors and shut the car off. Then he undid his seat belt and started to undo mine. I kept saying no and he persisted.

    The ONLY way I got out of there was quick thinking. I told him that if I was late getting home, I wouldn’t be able to see him again. I told him we could plan to get together again the next night, but only if he got me home right then. Finally he relented and drove me around the corner. When I had the door locked behind me, my knees gave out.

    The asshole actually kept calling me, too, until I had a male friend inform him that if he persisted ill would befall him.

    That guy also apparently thought that going on a date meant I owed him something. I cannot agree.

  9. Anne says:

    Rereading her statements, it’s the Mike Tyson comment that gets me, as well. How can she say he’s not a rapist? Does she even have anything but a fleeting knowledge of that case??

    She says getting naked then saying ‘no’ and if the guy continues it’s rape but Tyson isn’t a rapist. She needs to sit down – now.

  10. ridiculous. says:

    I don’t think what she said was bad at all. Everyone is making a huge deal out of this, when it’s obviously a misunderstanding. Have any of you actually read the other article to clarify? I don’t give a crap about Mike Tyson, that’s one woman’s opinion and if she doesn’t think he’s a rapist, that’s fine with me. I don’t know the details of his case or her statements, but here’s what I DO know :

    If a woman is drunk as shit, making out with a guy all night, going up to his room after, fooling around and then crying rape the next day, she had it coming. 😕

  11. EduBois says:

    People…get over it. You’re sweating an actress about an interview in a men’s mag? Do I agree with her about Mike Tyson? No. Is she right that date rape can be compilicated legally (i.e. PROVE IT IN COURT WITH EVIDENCE, not innuendo and accusation)? Absolutely.

    Is it worth all this static when you’ve got a serious election going on in your country? Not really. Get your minds right and focus on issues you can actually contribute solutions towards.

  12. xiaoecho says:

    EduBois……..er, I don’t have a serious or any other type of election going on in my country.

    America is not the centre of the universe……..get over it

  13. geronimo says:

    Pet hate: people posting on here as if there is no known life outside of America. Glad you pulled that up, xia, really annoying, particularly when it’s accompanied by a pissy little lecture.

  14. huh says:

    Even IF everyone posting here was American, which is clearly not true, should we be spending every waking hour thinking about an election that is two months away? There are two choices, that’s it. Not like we have a list of 500 candidates. Only so much time anyone can spend thinking/worrying about that.

  15. Orangejulius says:

    Yes, no pissy little lectures! I had someone tell me I should spend more time on sorting out my problems with my addict son when I was posting on Amy Winehouse. So I don’t get to have any life outside of taking care of him? What’s with that shit? And, I’m highly involved with this frigging election and it seems as if it’s been going on forever.

    This is a gossip blogging site, for Chrissakes!

    Helen Mirren is a product of a different time and she’s entitled to her opinion, even if I don’t agree with her. She’s from an era where if you put yourself in a position where rape might occur, the woman bears some responsibility for getting herself in that situation.

  16. Rosanna says:

    Just to clarify: I never stated that, because I agree to go out on a date with somebody, I owe him/her something. I did state that, because I agree to go out on a date with somebody, s/he has more reason to think I might like him/her.
    If you think about it, before asking somebody out, you think your chances s/he likes you are 50/50. But after asking the person out and him/her consenting, you think your chances are higher. That’s it, or else why would you get out with him/her, what would be the point? Therefore, when one thinks his/her chances are higher, tends not to understand a no unless it’s super clearly stated, and sometimes reiterated. I’m sure it happened not to understand a no the first (and maybe second) time that it was uttered. It just *happens*. A misunderstanding, especially in the heat of passion (or hope or lust or whatever) can and does happen.
    I never said date rape isn’t rape. I did say that it’s not the same thing like jumping on an unknown woman on the street and forcing yourself on her, and I 100% agree with this statement.

  17. mae says:

    you’re aware its an unfortunate photo choice, but you’re going to post it anyway. Even though it’s five months old. Because that’s how you’re getting across you dislike helen mirren. Clever.

  18. Diva says:

    mae, if you hate this site so much


  19. mae says:

    haha thanks for the tip, diva. I’m sure the site appreciates it.

  20. RAN says:

    I’m beginning to think ol’ Helen is just a bit addled in the brain. OJ didn’t do it either, did he? No, running from the law and trying to make it to the border with his gun and passport… that’s not a sign of guilt… just fear of ‘da man’.

    Going up to a guy’s room because you like him, or think you’d like a relationship or something with him, yeah…that equates to a situation where the woman deserves rape (sarcasm here). I’m pretty ticked off that she had the nerve to say this. No, I’ve never been raped, nor have I been close to it, but asinine comments like this just blow me away.

    Whatever Helen… time for you to stfu.

  21. actingrc says:

    wow. way to project, y’all. mirren didn’t say date rape-ees deserve it. she did not say it was their fault. she said it was hard to prove – fact – and that a lot of times it’s a subjective occurence – often also a fact. i think that’s what she meant about the “negotiating” bit. Not that women have to negotiate with men to remain un-date-raped, but that the definitions and boundaries of acceptable sexual behavior are constantly evolving and that date rape is still a murky area, with good reason. it is murky. no means no, but what does “wait” mean? or a (coy?) light push on the chest? THAT’S negotiation.
    frankly, the assumption that the “no means no” credo is effective or always applicable does irreparable harm in a number of date rape/acquaintance rape/ sexual misconduct cases. your collective reliance on it is disheartening; my awareness that i, too, f–ked up by being less than clear is the only thing that has brought me through the times after. at least i know how to avoid and hopefully prevent it in the future.

  22. Baholicious says:

    She really flubbed on the delivery but I see her point. Any ‘stranger’ rape victim who’s been cross-examined has it bad enough, never mind a ‘date’ rape situation and having to defend oneself against how a little fooling around got out of hand because some tool decided to take advantage of a situation and ‘she said no but I thought she really wanted it’.

    Oh yeah, and “what were you wearing?” And that’s what the police ask you.

    No means no, but unfortunately pressing criminal charges and going to court compounds the shame. It shouldn’t, but that’s the way the system is set up. Rather than the defendant having to prove he’s not a rapist, the victim has to prove she’s not a slut who asked for it.

  23. Jeanne says:

    All I know is that she’s a great actress. She speaks her mind, and she has a right to.