There were widespread reports yesterday that actor Michael Sheen was leaving acting to focus on being a political activist. Just about every news site picked up the story that had started in the Times of London. To quote the articles:
Michael Sheen has declared that he is leaving Hollywood to commit himself to political activism and to opposing demagogues and fascists.
Turns out, that's not true.
Before this gets ridiculous I said I'm thinking I might start acting less and maybe even stop for a while at some point but don't know yet.
— michael sheen (@michaelsheen) December 17, 2016
The actor just wrapped up a four season run on Masters of Sex and is in the new film Passengers. The word that he was going to leave Hollywood spread like wildfire across social media which prompted the actor to set the story straight.
His full response was:
WHAT I DID NOT SAY:
I did one interview with The Times of London a few weeks ago, parts of which (including a headline that is not a quote) have been picked up by a lot of other outlets. I DID NOT declare that I'm 'quitting acting and leaving Hollywood' to go into politics.
In the actual original interview I said I have become more involved with community issues back at home over the last few years and because of the political situation it's something I would like to focus on more. The interviewer asked me what that meant for my career and I said it might mean I work less as an actor and maybe even stop for a while AT SOME POINT. But I don't really know yet.
I certainly did NOT equate people who voted for Brexit or Trump with a fascistic 'hard right' that must be stopped. The majority of people in the U.K., including my hometown of Port Talbot, voted for Brexit. That is the will of the people and is to be respected. That is democracy. Given the concerns around the economy in the area I come from and its industrial history I totally empathise with the dissatisfaction with the status quo that the vote was partially an expression of.
What I think must be resisted is the re-emerging spectre of fascism in the West. Our democracy must be defended and each of us needs to decide how we can contribute to that effort.