Actor Ralph Fiennes stated his case against “trigger warnings,” or statements made prior to sharing potentially offensive content, saying that audiences should be fine with feeling strong emotions.
The 61-year-old actor told BBC One’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, “I think we didn’t use to have trigger warnings. I mean, they are very disturbing scenes in Macbeth, terrible murders and things. But I think the impact of theater should be that you’re shocked and you should be disturbed. I don’t think you should be prepared for these things and when I was young, (we) never had trigger warnings for shows,” Fiennes said.
The actor said warnings for issues that could “affect people physically,” such as strobe effects that could trigger seizures, should be added to entertainment content. But when it comes to emotional triggers, Fiennes thinks society has taken it too far.
“Shakespeare’s plays are full of murderers, full of horror. As a young student and lover of the theater, I never experienced trigger warnings telling me: ‘By the way in King Lear, Gloucester is going to have his eyes pulled out.’ Theater has to be alive and connect in the present,” he continued. “It’s the shock, the unexpected, that’s what makes an actor (in) theater so exciting.”
It’s not the first time the “Harry Potter” star has spoken out against woke culture. In 2022, the actor responded to the backlash against author J.K. Rowling for her stance on transgender issues.
“The verbal abuse directed at her is disgusting, it’s appalling. I mean, I can understand a viewpoint that might be angry at what she says about women. But it’s not some obscene, über-right-wing fascist,” Fiennes said, as The Daily Wire previously reported.
“It’s just a woman saying, ‘I’m a woman and I feel I’m a woman and I want to be able to say that I’m a woman.’ And I understand where she’s coming from. Even though I’m not a woman,” he continued.
While many “Harry Potter” stars spoke out against Rowling at the height of the drama, Fiennes always defended the author’s right to state her opinion on social issues.