"If a woman is a b*tch, or hysterical, or bloody-minded continually, then I’d do it."
Only a few weeks have passed since fans wrote tributes for their onscreen hero, Sean Connery after he passed away on October 31, 2020. He may be remembered for his iconic film roles, especially his tough-guy performance in the James Bond series. But very few were aware of the other side of the man who thought there was nothing particularly wrong with being physically abusive towards women.
Not only have there been claims in the past of Connery beating his first wife, Diane Cilento, while they were married from 1962 to 1973, but there have been times where Connery openly spoke in favor of violence against women in his interviews.
"How do you feel about roughing up a woman, as Bond sometimes has to do?" an interviewer asked Connery for the 1965 issue of Playboy.
"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," Connery replied, as reported by Snopes. "An open-handed slap is justified—if all other alternatives fail and there has been plenty of warning. If a woman is a b*tch, or hysterical, or bloody-minded continually, then I’d do it."
Elaborating on his misogynistic side, the actor said, "I think a man has to be slightly advanced, ahead of the woman. I really do — by virtue of the way a man is built, if nothing else. But I wouldn’t call myself sadistic. 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."
Several years later, during an interview with Barbara Walters in 1987, when Connery was asked about his stance on men being abusive towards women, the actor said, "I haven't changed my opinion..." according to People.
Connery's main justification for his remarks on women was that his words were taken out of context. But from the video below, it is quite clear what his opinion really is.
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
Another six years after his interview with Walters, the actor once again re-packaged and reaffirmed his views about physically abusing women. "I was really saying that to slap a woman was not the crudest thing you can do to her," he was quoted telling Vanity Fair. "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."
In her autobiography, My Nine Lives, Connery's first wife, Cilento mentions being beaten up by the actor. She wrote a chilling account about what happened after she and her husband were at a wedding party with his film crew. "...The liquor [was] flowing down throats as fast as the army of waiters could serve it," she wrote, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
"I could strangely recall seeing his face scowling at me through the blur of faces, although I couldn’t be sure. It was late when I climbed the stairs to our room..." Cilento wrote in her book.
"Once inside, in the darkness, I felt a blow to my face and was knocked to the floor. I remember screaming and I think we were both shouting. I got to my feet and tried to fight back but another blow sent me flying. I managed to get through the bathroom door and locked myself in. I spent the rest of the night sprawled on the bathroom floor, covered with towels, whimpering."
Before she passed away from cancer in 2011, Cilento also alleged that Connery wasn't planning on including their son, Jason in his will. But Connery called her an "insane woman" and denied the allegation just like he denied her claims of being physically abused by him.
Although some might still consider him to be a formidable Hollywood figure, it's impossible to turn a blind eye to the way the actor spoke about women while he was alive.