Welsh actor Michael Sheen has denied that he is swapping Hollywood for political activism.
In an interview with The Times, he had said he wanted to get involved in local politics in his hometown of Port Talbot, which voted overwhelmingly for Brexit.
"In the same way as the Nazis had to be stopped in Germany in the thirties, this thing that is on the rise has to be stopped," the 47-year-old, who stars alongside Jennifer Lawrence and Chis Pratt in Passengers, said.
"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."
But after multiple reports that Sheen was quitting acting altogether, he tweeted to clarify that he only meant to say he might act less at some point in the future.
In a Tumblr post, Sheen wrote:
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.
BAFTA-nominated Sheen has lived in Los Angeles for the past 14 years. He is currently in a relationship with US comedian Sarah Silverman.
Matthew Champion is a weekend editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Matthew Champion at email@example.com.
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