Angela Lansbury has clarified her comments on sexual harassment that went viral on Tuesday, in which she appeared to indicate that women are to some degree responsible for being harassed.
“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," said Lansbury in a statement sent to USA TODAY Wednesday by her rep, Adam Alberti.
The interview in question was done with Radio Times Magazine, which quotes Lansbury, 92, as saying, “there are two sides to this coin. We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately it has backfired on us — and this is where we are today."
The upcoming star of Little Women added: "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.”
Late Wednesday, Lansbury emphasized in her statement that she has long been a strong advocate for women's rights, adding that she was also “troubled by how quickly and brutishly some have taken my comments out of context and attempted to blame my generation, my age, or my mindset, without having read the entirety of what I said.”
In the original interview, the actress, who played Jessica Fletcher in the television series Murder, She Wrote, was quoted saying she does not believe harassment is exculpatory.
“Should women be prepared for this? No, they shouldn’t have to be!" she said. "There’s no excuse for that. And I think it will stop now – it will have to. I think a lot of men must be very worried at this point.”
As a result of the interview, Lansbury became a trending topic Tuesday on Twitter.
Patricia Arquette, among others, was swift to criticize Lansbury for her remarks on the social media site. "When Angela (Lansbury) blames sexual assaults on victims being too attractive she needs a reminder (that a) 3 month old (was) raped," Arquette tweeted Tuesday.
"It doesn't matter how young or old, how beautiful or homely," she added. "Rapists rape. End of story."