Enter Henry Cavill, the actor whose Mission Impossible moustache will finally get its day in the sun later this month. In a new issue of GQ Australia, he clumsily attempted to enter the #MeToo discourse, and now everyone's angry.
"Stuff has to change, absolutely," Cavill said. "It's important to also retain the good things, which were a quality of the past, and get rid of the bad things."
Calling the conversation "delicate and careful," he went on to explain his take on flirting.
"There's something wonderful about a man chasing a woman," he said. "There's a traditional approach to that, which is nice. I think a woman should be wooed and chased, but maybe I'm old-fashioned for thinking that."
Then he dropped this nugget:
It's very difficult to do that if there are certain rules in place," he said. "Because then it's like: 'Well, I don't want to go up and talk to her, because I'm going to be called a rapist or something'. So you're like, 'Forget it, I'm going to call an ex-girlfriend instead, and then just go back to a relationship, which never really worked'. But it's way safer than casting myself into the fires of hell, because I'm someone in the public eye, and if I go and flirt with someone, then who knows what's going to happen?
"Now? Now you really can't pursue someone further than, 'No'. It's like, 'OK, cool'. But then there's the, 'Oh why'd you give up?' And it's like, 'Well, because I didn't want to go to jail?'
Naturally, the comments have set off an eruption of responses, both against and in defence of Cavill. You can read some of the conversation below.
If you're approaching women in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe, then YOU need to change your behavior, instead of whining about how some men are now facing consequences for serial harassment and assault.— Helen Price (@HelenRPrice) July 11, 2018
If you can't tell the difference between welcome flirting and harassment/assault, you have a big problem.— Rachel Molnar (@Rachel_Mol) July 11, 2018
He knows the difference between sexual assault and just flirting with someone, he's just afraid of the people who don't. I don't know if you're blatantly igoring that or genuinely don't realize it.— Keith (@Keith54455540) July 11, 2018
Hello [boring and false men are afraid to ask women out since #MeToo rhetoric] my old friend, I've come talk with you again— Grace Petrie 100% Official Tweets (@gracepetrie) July 12, 2018
Today it's Henry Cavill with "I believe women should be chased"— Grace Petrie 100% Official Tweets (@gracepetrie) July 12, 2018
When did the notion that being chased is a *pleasant* feeling become so universally accepted? pic.twitter.com/z6kQnCzVrF
I wish (these types of) men were afraid of overstepping the mark with expressing romantic interest. They're not afraid of "being thought of" as rapists. They're unnerved that we are moving to a culture of equal footing in romantic relationships and the old script being thrown out— Grace Petrie 100% Official Tweets (@gracepetrie) July 12, 2018
I've said it before and I'll say it again, if it was literally banned for men to ever approach any women ever, neither sex nor the human race would die out. It's funny but some scientists these days are claiming women are *sentient* creatures with their own agency. Whatever next— Grace Petrie 100% Official Tweets (@gracepetrie) July 12, 2018