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Helen Mirren Shut Down a Sexist Interviewer in 1975 and It’s the Best Thing We’ve Watched All Day

Helen Mirren shut down a sexist U.K. talk show host during one of her first-ever talk show appearances in 1975. The Oscar winner stood her ground during a cringeworthy interview with Michael Parkinson, who she has since referred to as a “sexist old fart.” Watch the archival interview in the clip above!

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In their uncomfortable interview, Parkinson introduces the then–30-year-old Mirren as “a sex queen” who is “especially telling in projecting sluttish eroticism.” 

Helen Mirren in 1975
Helen Mirren in 1975.

Parkinson then asks Mirren, now 70, if being called a sex queen bothers her, to which she says no, not at all, before things get real.

“You are, in quotes, a serious actress,” the talk show host begins to say before Mirren cuts off his rude comment and even worse air quotes.

“‘In quotes’? What do you mean ‘in quotes’? How dare you,” she tells him while keeping her calm demeanor.

Parkinson then dares to ask her if she thinks that her breasts get in the way of her being considered a serious actress.

“Do you find it to be fact that, what could be best described as your ‘equipment’ hinders you in that pursuit?” he questions, to which she responds: “I’d like you to explain what you mean by my equipment in greater detail,” before shutting him down by stating, “Because serious actresses can’t have big bosoms, is that what you mean?” 

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Helen Mirren attends the amfAR's 23rd Cinema Against AIDS Gala at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 19, 2016 in Cap d'Antibes.
Helen Mirren attends amfAR’s 23rd Cinema Against AIDS Gala at Hôtel du Cap Eden Roc on May 19, 2016, in Cap d’Antibes.

During a 2011 interview with The Telegraph, Mirren recalled the horrifying interview.

“That’s the first talk show I’d ever done,” she told the paper. “I was terrified. I watched it and I actually thought, Bloody hell! I did really well. I was so young and inexperienced. And he was such a f‑‑king sexist old fart. He was. He denies it to this day that it was sexist, but of course he was.”

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Watch the full cringeworthy exchange above.

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