Russell Crowe has come in for serious criticism after making a joke about “sodomising” a female co-star in the current climate of the post-Harvey Weinstein allegations of sexual abuse and harassment.

The 53 year old actor was presenting an award this week at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, when he recounted an awkward situation involving a sex scene with co-star Jacquie McKenzie in the 1992 movie Romper Stomper.

In comments that reportedly got left out of the eventual broadcast on Wednesday night (December 6th), Crowe is reported to have said: “I was sodomising Jacqueline McKenzie on the set of Romper Stomper. 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. 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 Jacquie McKenzie’s beautiful late mother that we were in fact, in her mind, engaged in sodomy.”

Russell CroweRussell Crowe has apologised for the joke about "sodomising" female co-star in sex scene

“Anyway that was just a story about sensitivity!”

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Well, the joke didn’t go down to well, with muted laughter greeting its arrival and criticism soon following for its ‘tone deaf’ nature. The following day, Crowe issued a statement apologising for offending people.

“Actors and actresses by the nature of our job get thrown into some embarrassing, bizarre and extreme circumstances. It’s an ironic combination that sensitivity required for the job has also to be coupled with an ability to put aside your embarrassment and fears and cope with the humiliation… The way I delivered the story was to elicit that half cringe/half laugh reaction. Obviously I was only intending to make people laugh. Especially Jacquie, and she did. I didn’t mean any offence to anyone and it wasn’t a comment on other issues.”

McKenzie was in the audience, and indeed, she took to social media to say that she and Crowe both often laugh about that scene on-set. However, she has been one of the many women to come forward with stories about sexual harassment in the film industry.

She told The Australian last week: “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’.”

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