George Lazenby, the one-time James Bond known for “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” apologized Monday for remarks made on a stage in Perth, Australia, that were deemed “creepy” and “homophobic.”
The Australian actor, 83, spoke Saturday in an interview as part of a national tour of classical music for The Music of James Bond, and Lazenby was later dismissed from the final leg of the national concert tour, which is scheduled for this coming Saturday in Melbourne.
“I am sorry and saddened to hear that my stories in Perth on Saturday might have offended some people. It was never my intention to make hurtful or homophobic comments and I am truly sorry if my stories that I have shared many times were taken that way,” Lazenby wrote in a tweet on Monday. “I only ever wish to share some stories and hopefully entertain some people. I personally have friends within my close circle who are gay, and I would never wish to offend anyone. Having been surrounded by strong women all my life, I have always admired and respected women and their wishes.”
While it’s unclear the exact comments Lazenby made, several audience members and callers to a radio show after the performance blasted Lazenby’s stories as offensive and hardly pertinent to the James Bond films.
“He spent all of the interview just talking about basically his sexual conquests, he was homophobic, he swore, he certainly wasn’t talking about his Bond movies. He downplayed the Queen a day after she died,” one caller to 6PR radio said (via news.com.au).
“It was absolutely unbelievable,” another said. “At one point he named an Australian cricketer whose daughter he was chasing and he said he dragged the daughter out of the pub and put her in the car in London, which again is of course horrific.”
Other callers labeled his comments “creepy” and “offensive” and “absolutely horrific behavior.”
In statements to the media, reps for the touring company Concertworks and the Melbourne Arts Centre also distanced themselves from Lazenby.
“These were his personal views and there is no excuse for this in today’s society. They do not reflect the views of Concertworks,” rep Aaron Kernaghan said. “Concertworks has been in touch with people who have raised concern and it has issued an apology…Concertworks has chosen to discontinue its relationship with Mr Lazenby [and] commenced a thorough review of the matter.”
“Discrimination due to race, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability have no place at our venues. Inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated and we expect everyone to treat others with dignity, courtesy and respect,” the Arts Centre’s Melanie Smith said in a statement.
Lazenby in 1969 took over the role of 007 from Sean Connery for “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” but declined to return for future Bond films.