LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Angela Lansbury set off a Twitter firestorm Tuesday, stating women must “sometimes take blame” for sexual harassment.
The “Murder, She Wrote” star, 92, made the remarks during an interview with Radio Times.
“There are two sides to this coin,” she stated. “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.
“We must sometimes take blame, women. I really do think that,” she continued. “Although it’s awful to say we can’t make ourselves look as attractive as possible without being knocked down and raped.”
Debra Suh, with the Center for the Pacific Asian Family, which helps domestic violence and rape survivors, believes Lansbury’s comments represent a generational divide; but she says victim-blaming or shaming is exactly why so many women stay silent.
“I don’t think we talk about men who work out at the gym and dress well — that they’re inviting to be raped,” Suh said. “All the stories that are coming out, the common thread is that a person in power abused that power to sexually harass or assault someone who had less power. We’re not hearing stories about an intern sexually harassing their boss.”
Lansbury clarified she doesn’t let men off the hook, stating: “Should women be prepared for this? No, they shouldn’t have to be! There’s no excuse for that. And I think it has to stop now — it will have to. I think a lot of men must be very worried at this point.”
But the backlash was swift.
Actress Patricia Arquette tweeted: “When Angela Landsbury [sic] blames sexual assaults on victims being too attractive she needs a reminder 3 month old raped … Or this 90 year old woman who was raped- … It doesn’t matter how young or old, how beautiful or homely. Rapists rape. End of story.”
But Lansbury also has supporters.
User @211Pine tweeted: “All Angela Lansbury really did was tell women & girls what your parents have told you for years, ‘Don’t go out of the house like that, put some clothes on.’ It’s not victim blaming, it’s common sense. You also shouldn’t go to a walk up ATM at 2am or drive in bad neighborhoods.”