In the interview, Sheen was misquoted after seemingly hinting that he would be leaving Hollywood to fight against the “hard populist right.”
“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,” Sheen told The Times.
In a message posted to his Tumblr account on Saturday night, the actor wrote, “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 was quoted as saying that the recent U.K. Brexit vote and Donald Trump winning the U.S. presidential election sparked a “massive urgency” to commit himself to opposing demagogues and fascists by moving from Los Angeles back to his hometown of Port Talbot, Wales. Port Talbot voted for the Brexit in June, which left the actor “sad and frustrated” and wanting to make a difference.
Sheen clarified in his recent post, “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.”
Sheen told The Times that he developed an increasing role in activism after connecting with community organizations while participating in street performances with over 1,000 volunteers as part of the National Theatre Wales’ production of The Passion in Port Talbot in 2011.
The Masters of Sex star spoke with The Times while promoting the upcoming Passengers, in which he appears alongside the film’s stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.
Dec. 17, 9:04 p.m. — Updated with Sheen’s Tumblr post.