Sir Michael Parkinson has said that he now looks back and re-examines his past behaviour towards women, questioning whether it was “entirely appropriate”.
The 82-year-old TV personality, whose chat show Parkinson first aired in 1971 and concluded with his retirement in 2007, expressed concern that he “could get arrested” if he behaved nowadays as he had earlier in his year.
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Sir Michael told GQ: “Men are in a quandary. I mean, certainly if I was doing now what I did then, I would have to watch myself. I could get arrested.”
He added: “But there isn’t a man of a certain age who doesn’t look back and wonder, ‘Was my behaviour entirely appropriate?'”
The interview comes in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, the MeToo movement and the Time’s Up initiative which aims to expose and root out sexual harassment and abuse.
“There was a bar on Fleet Street [where] women were treated disgracefully, like second-class citizens. It was woefully un-PC,” Sir Michael told the publication.
Asked about his “personal regrets”, the talk show host said: “Oh, no. I used to try to kiss Shirley MacLaine whenever I could… An outrageous flirt.”
Oscar-winning actress MacLaine, who starred in Terms of Endearment, is now 83.
His only personal regret is that he didn’t take on the editor who “exposed himself” to his wife Mary Parkinson.
“I regret not doing something to an editor – who shall remain nameless, for now – who exposed himself to my wife, at my house, no less,” he explains.
But at the time, he didn’t throw him out into the street: “No. I should have, shouldn’t I? It’s a wonderful thing hindsight, isn’t it?”
When it comes to disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein himself, Parky pulls no punches. Literally.
Asked how it would feel to interview Weinstein, he said: “You would have to stop yourself from punching him first.”