Daily Express (UK), February 24, 2001
Star provokes outrage as he speaks of his new movie as a wife beater
Women will get a sexual buzz if they're beaten up, says Keanu
by James Davis and Gabriel Milland
Actor Keanu Reeves has sparked outrage by claiming women get sexually excited when men beat them up.
The 36-year-old star of Matrix made his comments as he spoke of his role in The Gift which opens in British cinemas next month.
He said: "I think that is what goes on within spousal abuse - there's a kind of sexiness to that behaviour and they'll have their best sex after a violent incident.
"There's a kind of submission that goes on in the female and dominance in the male, which is a turn-on. They call it the circle of violence and there's something the female likes about it."
In The Gift, Reeves' character mercilessly assaults Oscar winning Hilary Swank. Reeves said he particularly enjoyed filming that segment. "The scene where I use serious violence on her was fun to film," he added.
Reeves' comments follow the outrage poured on bad-boy Eminem, whose latest album features a track where he tells his three year old daughter how he murdered her mother because she deserved to die.
Experts said that Reeves' comments were not only foolish, but also dangerous.
"Some men may have these fantasies and having a famous actor say it legitimises them," said psychiatrist Dr Sidney Crown.
"These are dangerous comments because they make some men think 'well he's saying it so it's all right. All women like that." And of course that's not true.
"Sado-masochistic relationships are common but it's not just a female thing - a lot of men enjoy pain. The way he suggests it, is that it's always women who enjoy suffering." Daily Express agony aunt Kate Saunders said Reeves' comments would deeply wound women who were stuck in a relationship where they were beaten and abused.
"It's despicable," she said. "Just imagine how lonely, misunderstood, helpless and hopeless battered women must feel when they hear someone like him say things like this. It will certainly put me off going to see any of his films again."
Reeves' ill judged remarks could hit him where it hurts Hollywood most - in the pocket. America's powerful Nation Organisation of Women has turned its wrath on him.
Spokeswoman Carolyn Hill said: "Big movie star or not, this man needs to take a course in female sensitivity and if he doesn't have time for that, tune into Mel Gibson's movie What Women Want."
Reeves rose to fame in the Eighties when he played a vacant-minded teenager in the two "Bill and Ted" films. A subsequent career lull was broken when he secured big hits with Speed and then last year's The Matrix.
Last month Reeves revealed that he had not had a girlfriend for five years and that he finds serious relationships with women difficult.