Sean Connery died on Halloween in 2020 at the age of 90. He was the first James Bond actor, and won hearts and fame because of his rakish charm.
Trigger warning: Violence towards women
"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain," a comic book character once famously said. This quote comes to mind when one contemplates the life of the first James Bond, Sean Connery. He passed away at the age of 90 on October 31. The man had won our hearts through his portrayal of 007, and the spy series has only grown in fame since then.
The Scottish amateur bodybuilder did not get creator Ian Fleming's approval initially, according to the British Film Institute's ScreenOnline. He still remains the most popular incarnation of Ian Fleming's "snobbish macho hero," the website said. However, along with his fame as an action star, he also won accolades as a talented artist.
"With great power comes great responsibility," another comic book said, and in the case of Connery, it could mean that with great fame came more responsibility. However, the actor wasn't responsible with his words and condoned abusing women. He defended his position over and over again, which is disappointing given his name and influence in the West.
In the November 1965 issue of Playboy, he was asked, "How do you feel about roughing up a woman, as Bond sometimes has to do?" The actor, who was married to Australia-born actress Diane Cilento back then, said, "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. An open-handed slap is justified — if all other alternatives fail and there has been plenty of warning. If a woman is a b****, or hysterical, or bloody-minded continually, then I’d do it." Cilento had accused him of physical and mental abuse during the time she spent with him, reports the Daily Mail.
He further added that a man has to be "advanced, ahead of the woman." Talking about his iconic role, he added, "I think one of the appeals that Bond has for women, however, is that he is decisive, cruel even. By their nature women aren’t decisive — 'Shall I wear this? Shall I wear that?' — and along comes a man who is absolutely sure of everything and he’s a godsend. And, of course, Bond is never in love with a girl and that helps. He always does what he wants, and women like that. It explains why so many women are crazy about men who don’t give a rap for them."
While we do understand that some women are often attracted to the cool bad boys, it doesn't mean they want to be abused or controlled by unkind men.
Two decades later, he was questioned by ABC News host Barbara Walters about his comment in the Playboy, and he defended himself revealing he had no regrets. He not only said he hasn't changed his opinion, but he also added, "I don’t think it’s that bad. I think that it depends entirely on the circumstances and if it merits it, yeah." Walters asked what would "merit it?" He responded saying, "Well, if you have tried everything else, and women are pretty good at this, that they can’t leave it alone. They don’t — 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."
A reminder for all of you who are honoring Sean Connery.— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 31, 2020
He was 57 years old when he gave this interview with Barbara Walters. pic.twitter.com/LIIBqSWwgj
A year later, he reaffirmed his position on hitting women again. In 1988, he was asked by the Philadelphia Daily News about what he told Walters, which had become a controversy then. He said, "I wouldn’t change anything I said in that show." He added that Walters' show had taken his comments out of context. However, his statement that he won't change his earlier position showed that he did believe that women should be slapped to keep them in line.
In 1993, Vanity Fair asked him about his previous controversial remarks yet again. The Scottish actor blamed the show for taping two hours and showing only 20 minutes. "Barbara Walters was trying to get me to say it was O.K. to hit women. But I was really saying that to slap a woman was not the crudest thing you can do to her. I said that in my book—it’s much more cruel to psychologically damage somebody… to put them in such distress that they really come to hate themselves…. Sometimes there are women who take it to the wire. That’s what they’re looking for, the ultimate confrontation—they want a smack," he said. The actor believed that mental abuse, which is equally heartbreaking, is worse and that a woman is looking to get hit when they confront a man.
Many hailed him for his iconic Bond role, but the internet doesn't let things pass as much as human memory does. While many fans believe that a dead man's crimes shouldn't be talked about since they can't defend it, others have said it is important to reveal the realities of people we hail as heroes. He is a great artist, no doubt. But it is important to see traits of narcissism or manipulative behavior for what it is, no matter who the person is.