Russell Crowe has apologised for a story he told the audience at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards on Wednesday about “sodomising” co-star Jacqueline Mackenzie on the set of their 1992 film Romper Stomper.
The speech was edited out of broadcaster Channel 7’s delayed coverage of the awards ceremony, at which a number of presenters and stars addressed the issue of sexual harassment in the Australian industry and in Hollywood.
Crowe said his “bad attempt at making people laugh” was supposed to be a conversation about sensitivity.
In his edited speech the Oscar winner said:
“I just want to talk about what binds us together. There’s two things really. One is an abiding passion for our pursuit and the other is sensitivity.
“I was sodomizing Jackie McKenzie on the set of Romper Stomper and I didn’t actually intend to do that but I was trying to keep my bits away from her bits and she’d 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 Jackie McKenzie’s beautiful late mother that we were in fact, in her mind, engaged in sodomy. Anyway, that was just a story about sensitivity!”
After local media labelled the incident both bizarre and tone deaf, Crowe issued a statement in which he said he didn’t mean “any offence,” adding that “Jacquie and I survived that moment in our young careers because we looked after each other. Our friendship has only strengthened over the years and it’s a story we both cringe and laugh over.”
McKenzie for her part took to Facebook to help explain that she and Crowe have joked about the difficulties of shooting the scene and that Crowe’s joke “bears no relevance” to the “very important conversation of sexual harassment.”