Michael Sheen sets the record straight on reports he will quit acting for political activism

"Before this gets ridiculous I said I'm thinking I might start acting less and maybe even stop for a while at some point but don't know yet"

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Michael Sheen has taken to Twitter to set the record straight after yesterday’s media coverage of his decision to quit acting for political activism. 

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The Welsh star – best known for roles in Masters of Sex and The Queen – was widely reported to be putting his acting career on hold after comments he made to The Times newspaper in which he stated his intention to start fighting the rise of the “hard populist right”:

“It means that I would work less as an actor, and possibly stop,” he replies slowly, holding my gaze. What, completely? “Yeah. Certainly for the time being.” How soon? “I don’t know.” Well, what are you signed up to do next? “Nothing.”

However, Sheen has since sent a tweet, clarifying his comments. 

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And he later added a Tumblr post, titled “What I Did Not Say”, explaining: “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.”

Sheen is already known for his politically activism with footage of a blistering speech he gave in defence of the NHS going viral back in March 2015.

In his original interview with The Times, he is quoted as saying: “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. But it has to be understood before it can be stopped.”

But in his post, Sheen states: “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.”