Emma Thompson says intimacy co-ordinators essential after Ian McKellen comments

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Dame Emma Thompson has hailed intimacy co-ordinators as “absolutely essential” after fellow actor Sir Ian McKellen said they can ruin the “purity” of theatre.

Sir Ian, 83, recently said that in the earlier stages of his career, matters requiring intimacy co-ordinators would have “taken care of themselves”.

Speaking to Andrew Marr on LBC, Dame Emma, 63, dismissed Sir Ian’s remarks, saying: “It’s all very well, if you’re a bloke it’s a different kind of thing.”

“I think if you’re a young woman on a set, which is largely peopled by men, the crew will be 90% men and the women won’t be on the set with you, because generally speaking we do not have parity on any level on film sets, it’s all men,” she told Marr.

“And that’s a very uncomfortable position for a young woman who’s starting in the industry, but it is absolutely essential that there is someone there to protect them. Absolutely essential.

“You cannot imagine what people went through in some of those big series when they first started the streaming series.

“They were just told when they walked on set, now this is what we’ve got to do… And that’s absolutely outrageous.

“So, it’s all very well, if you’re a bloke it’s a different kind of thing.”

Graham Norton Show – London
Sir Ian McKellen (Matt Crossick/PA)

Other female members of the industry including Rachel Zegler also criticised Bean’s comments.

Dame Emma said: “It’s not to say that they’re going to be in there all the time arranging your boobs, it’s that they can be there in case you might feel that there’s a position that you’ve got into that you’re not quite comfortable with, you know, your bum hole’s waving in the air, and you just think I don’t feel quite comfortable…

“I’ve worked with young actresses who’ve been truly traumatised by their experiences on set. And so, my passion for intimacy co-ordinators and protection for young women particularly, and young men, I mean, it’s not necessarily an easy thing for any person.”

Gillian Anderson and Bridgerton star Rege-Jean Page have also previously praised intimacy co-ordinators for their work in on-screen productions.

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