PERTH – Australian actor George Lazenby has apologised for his “hurtful” and “homophobic comments” made during a live show of music from the James Bond franchise.
The 83-year-old, who played the secret agent in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, made the remarks at a show last Saturday in Perth and has been axed from the final performance of The Music Of James Bond With George Lazenby in Melbourne.
He posted a statement on social media on Monday, saying: “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, for example in the documentary Becoming Bond (2017), were taken that way.”
One member of the audience later recounted what happened on Australian radio network 6PR: “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 after she died.”
Another attendee described the interview portion of the show to The West Australian newspaper as the “self-interested misogynistic stories of George Lazenby’s sexual prowess, intimate details of diarrhoea and the objectification of women”.
The audience member added: “It wasn’t until a brave member of the public shouted, ‘Excuse me, this is offensive’, that the tension was released and George was jeered off stage and music saved the day.”
In his apology, Lazenby defended himself, saying: “I only ever wish to share some stories and hopefully entertain some people. I 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.”
The West Australian Symphony Orchestra, which performed at the show, distanced itself from the actor in a statement: “His recollections were personal views that may have reflected a time when such behaviour was tolerated, but has never been acceptable.”
Lazenby, a former model with no acting experience, was catapulted to fame when he was cast to replace Sean Connery in the 007 franchise.