It’s a tough time to be anti-sex scenes. Just ask Penn Badgley, who recently disclosed his refusal to film intimate scenes for the latest season of his Netflix show You and received tons of backlash online. Now, the 36-year-old actor is defending his stance in a new profile for British GQ, claiming his statements were “blown out of proportion.”
“What I was speaking about wasn’t actually the final product,” the Gossip Girl star recently told the magazine. “It was sort of like the culture inherent to the production of all movies but particularly those scenes. It’s like, look, we know that Hollywood has had a history of flagrant exploitation and abuse.”
The controversy began back in February when Badgley revealed on his podcast PodCrushed that he asked You’s creator Sera Gamble not include him in any more sex scenes. In a cover story for Variety, he expanded on his comments, suggesting that filming intimate scenes would compromise his marriage to singer Domino Kirke.
“My fidelity in my relationship—it’s important to me,” he said at the time. “And actually, it was one of the reasons that I initially wanted to turn the role down. I didn’t tell anybody that. But that is why.”
“It’s not a place where I’ve blurred lines,” the actor added. “There’s almost nothing I could say with more consecration. That aspect of Hollywood has always been very disturbing to me—and that aspect of the job, that mercurial boundary — has always been something that I actually don’t want to play with at all.”
These remarks did not go down well on Twitter where discourse about the lack of intimacy in mainstream films is constantly being rehashed. Users mainly criticized Badgley for comparing simulated sex with an actor in a professional setting to cheating on his spouse, while others defended his right to feel uncomfortable about such scenarios. In the profile, Badgley seemed relieved about finally setting this boundary.
“I was nervous to even have that conversation,” he told British GQ. “It was not easy. It was easy because of Sera’s response, and I felt relieved. But technically speaking, if I thought I’d had the ability to set that boundary earlier, I would have.”
Despite the internet’s naysaying, Badgley is holding steadfast to his decision to refrain from on-screen sex, regardless of whether it will hurt his career.
“We shall see if setting that boundary, of course, has any ramifications,” he said. “Just simply, it does limit the number of projects you can be a part of.”
In the age of chaste Marvel movies, probably not.
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