Amid Tributes, Sean Connery's Views on Slapping Women Have Been Largely Overlooked

Tributes and remembrances from all over the world continue to pour in Saturday for iconic actor Sean Connery following his death at the age of 90 in the Bahamas. But some internet users who have not forgotten Connery's previous views on slapping women took to social media to resurface clips of his controversial 1980s interview with Barbara Walters.

"A reminder for all of you who are honoring Sean Connery. He was 57 years old when he gave this interview with Barbara Walters," New York Magazine contributor Yashar Ali tweeted, alongside a clip of Connery's television interview with Walters.

A reminder for all of you who are honoring Sean Connery.

He was 57 years old when he gave this interview with Barbara Walters.

— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 31, 2020

Throughout his career, Connery had been dogged by misogyny allegations that were fueled by comments he made over five decades ago to Playboy magazine.

"I don't think there is anything particularly wrong about hitting a woman—although I don't recommend doing it in the same way that you'd hit a man," the actor said in 1965. "An open-handed slap is justified if all other alternatives fail."

More than 20 years later, in 1987, Connery told Walters that he hadn't "changed his opinion" on the matter. "I don't think it's good [to slap a woman]," he said at the time. "I don't think it's that bad. I think it depends entirely on the circumstances and if it merits it."

Connery went on to describe the instances where slapping a woman is warranted. "If you have tried everything else—and women are pretty good at this—they can't leave it alone," he explained. "They want to have the last word and you give them the last word, but they're not happy with the last word. They want to say it again and get into a really provocative situation, then I think it's absolutely right."

The actor stood by his comments in a 1993 interview with Vanity Fair. Over a decade later, Connery claimed that his stance on the matter was taken out of context and insisted that it was wrong to hit a woman.

"My view is I don't believe that any level of abuse against women is ever justified under any circumstances. Full stop," he told The Times of London in 2006.

While most news outlets published tributes to Connery without mention of those past views, a number of social media users resurfaced the allegation.

"It is sad when someone famous dies, but I cannot unhear Sean Connery explaining why it is sometimes necessary to give women the odd slap," user @KennedyLoulou tweeted.

"RIP Sean Connery, a man who defends the need to slap women," user @IdalinBobe wrote.

Twitter user @bananatiergod added: "I just found out that Sean Connery had...HORRIBLE ideals towards women (AKA slap them "only when they deserve it"), and I by no means whatsoever say his acting skills excuse this behavior. At all. ALWAYS treat women with love and respect, guys!"

An op-ed published by The Scotsman on Saturday questioned whether Connery's comments on slapping women were "of the time."

Newsweek reached out to Connery's representatives for comment.

Sean Connery
Actor Sean Connery attend the Men's Singles Semifinals match between Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Marin Cilic of Croatia on September 11, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Clive Brunskill/Getty