Damian Lewis Says “Fruity” Comment Wasn’t Directed At Ian McKellen And Is “Hugely Embarrassed”

Actor Damian Lewis has apologized to Sir Ian McKellen for the comments he made to the UK Guardian back in October.

“I am hugely embarrassed that comments of mine have been linked in a negative way to Sir Ian McKellen,” Lewis said in a statement released Thursday morning. “I have always been, and continue to be, an enormous fan and admirer of Sir Ian’s.”

In the interview, the Homeland hottie said he always dreaded becoming “one of these slightly over-the-top, fruity actors who would have an illustrious career on stage, but wouldn’t start getting any kind of film work until I was 50 and then start playing wizards.”

Many interpreted this as a not-so-subtle jab at Sir Ian McKellen, who earned an Academy Award nod in 2001 for playing the wizard Gandalf in the billion-dollar Lord of the Rings film franchise.

“He’s one of the greats and one of the reasons I became an actor,” Lewis said earlier today. “My comment in the Guardian was a soundbite I’ve been giving since 1999. It was a generic analogy that was never intended to demean or describe anyone else’s career.”

The he added: “I have contacted Sir Ian McKellen and have given him my sincerest apologies.”

We’re pretty sure McKellen has better things to do than hold a grudge, so we’re glad these two have made up. And now we can go back to swooning over Lewis in all his ginger splendor.

Take a look at four more celebrities who have been caught making gay gaffes.

Black Shelton

The country crooner drew criticism in 2011 when he tweeted: “Re-writing my fav Shania Twain song.. Any man that tries Touching my behind He’s gonna be a beaten, bleedin’, heaving kind of guy…” Many people felt the comment was derisive of gay men. Shelton quickly apologized, tweeting: “Hey y’all allow me to seriously apologize for the misunderstanding with the whole re-write on the Shania song last night…”

Britney Spears

The platinum blonde hit-maker has been raising eyebrows quite a bit lately with her innocently homophobic comments. (For the record: We don’t think Britney is a homophobe. But she may want to hire a better PR team to help coach her on speaking with journalists.) Earlier this year, she likened gay people to puppies when she called them “adorable and hilarious.” A few weeks later, she apologized if she offended any of her gay fans, then tried to compliment them by calling them “somewhat girls.” Bless her heart.

Ceelo Green

The Crazy singer made headlines in 2011 when he tweeted at a reporter who gave him a negative review: “I’m guessing ur gay? and my masculinity offended u?” When followers called him out for the remark, Green replied: “what was homophobic about that?” He later apologized, saying, “If I could take it all back, I would. I was not being serious. I just wanted to defend our performance.”

Katy Perry

The Roar singer was accused of being transphobic in 2009 when she tweeted a picture of a naked transgender person (a hairy body with breasts) along with the caption: “NSFW! I knew those little white last week of the birth control pills would still have an effect on your body! FU.” A number organizations, including GLAAD, called the singer out for it. Perry never issued a formal apology, although she has made it up to the LGBT community in other ways. In 2012, she was given a Trevor Hero Award from the Trevor Project for her work in empowering youth. During her acceptance speech she said: “My mantra has always been, ‘Be yourself enough and you can be anything,’ so I’m so proud to be honored by an organization that believes the same exact thing and I’m so active in reminding LGBTQ teens about it.”

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  • Deepdow

    Damian Lewis was excellent in Forsyte Saga..I love period pieces.

  • hyhybt

    The next logical question, then, would be to ask how many over 50 gay actors famous for playing wizards are there?

  • Daveliam

    I keep seeing it said on this site that Britney Spears compared gay people to puppies, but the only “evidence” supporting this is the quote about being “adorable and hilarious”. Did she every ACTUALLY refer to us as puppies or does the author who keeps making this assertion think that puppies are adorable and hilarious and attributes his opinions to Britney? When I think of puppies, I “hilarious” isn’t one of the first adjectives I’d use. When I hear “adorable and hilarious” as a descriptor, puppies aren’t the first thing that come to mind.

  • hyhybt

    @Daveliam: Far from the worst aspects of puppies to be compared to. “They’re like puppies, in that they chew up the furniture and soil the rug,” for example.

  • Joetx

    @hyhybt: No kidding. There’s no way in hell Damian Lewis didn’t know what he was saying.

  • yaoming

    “Black Shelton”? Gaffe.

  • watching1

    That’s hardly the only thing Katy Perry’s said that shows she is not nearly as gay-aware as the Trevor Project would like to think. I Kissed A Girl is really pretty offensive, and she has said other things in songs that really make me wonder why people think just because she makes a few appearances and issues some sound bites that she’s heroic in any way.

  • Deepdow


    Add British to your sentence and I would say all of them :D

  • balehead

    Katy Perry made up for her Homophobia by getting an award???? How does this change things?? She’s still a total misandric femme…

  • balehead

    But if you refuse to date Katy Perry she’ll still call you a F##G….

  • jwrappaport

    What a bunch of jerks. Having said that, Damian looks mighty fine in his dress blues on Homeland – I’m glad Queerty gives me license to swoon once again.

  • davincibarnette

    Really Damian?

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  • MK Ultra

    Uhhhh, that’s a picture of a wax Katy Perry, right?

  • james_in_cambridge

    @MK Ultra: Have you ever seen her perform? There’s no difference between the real her and a wax figure.

  • tricky ricky

    he could have meant richard harris you know.

  • sprocket

    I give him full props for the apology and not wasting any time in delivering it.

Comments are closed.