ACTOR Russell Crowe told a bizarre anecdote about "sodomising" a female co-star at last night's Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards.
The star made the tone-deaf comments during a ceremony in which many presenters spoke about the issue of sexual harassment and abuse in the entertainment industry.
In comments that were cut from the ceremony's televised broadcast but reported by The Guardian, Crowe acknowledged the need for "sensitivity" in the industry - but then linked that need to a cringe-inducing story about "sodomising" co-star Jacqueline McKenzie during a sex scene on the set of their 1992 film Romper Stomper.
"I didn't actually intend to do that - I was trying to keep my bits away from her bits, and she's been given one of those pieces of elastic that the girls get when you do those scenes, which protects them from all things, and my bits and pieces were in a little canvas sack with a drawstring," Crowe said.
"And it was actually my desire to keep the bits apart. It wasn't until the opening night of the film that it was pointed out by none other than Jackie McKenzie's beautiful late mother that we were in fact, in her mind, engaged in sodomy. Anyway that was just a story about sensitivity!" he continued.
McKenzie, who was present at the AACTA ceremony, last week revealed she has endured "sexual harassment, bullying, groping, lascivious comments and unwanted advances" during her career as an actor.
McKenzie said she was in her 20s when the misconduct began, and reported it on two occasions, only to be ignored.
"The people involved were protected, the behaviour was ignored or swept under the rug," she told The Australian. "One response to a legal letter I did send - demanding an assurance I would be safe on set - was met by the producer saying: 'I can't give this letter to him (an actor). He'll go crazy.'"
Crowe's comments come in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, as the entertainment industry at home and overseas deals with the previously hidden issue of widespread sexual abuse and harassment.