Gabriel Byrne: ‘There’s a shame about men speaking out. A sense that if you were abused, it was your fault’

The Guardian

November 8, 2020

By Catherine Shoard

The actor’s autobiography confronts the abuse he experienced at the hands of the church. But he has just as much contempt for Hollywood – and US presidents from Obama to Trump

Forget the pollsters. If you wanted to know the outcome of last week’s US election, you just had to ask Gabriel Byrne. I did, a month ago. I wish I had gone to the bookies.

Byrne was in London on the way back to his farm in Maine, where he lives with his wife and three-year-old daughter. It’ll be thin, he said, Biden’s margin is miles slimmer than anyone predicts. He called it in 2016, too.

“If you were in touch with the rage that was on the ground, you were not looking at Hillary Clinton and saying, she’s going to get elected. That rage is still on the ground. The 40 million who support Trump haven’t wavered one iota.”

When he emails on Thursday night, he blames the Democrats for the tight result. “This is the second time they’ve come up against a gameshow host and they’ve learned nothing. Again they seriously underestimated the level of anger among mostly blue-collar workers.”

Byrne was sexually abused by priests from the age of eight; then, three years later, dispatched to a seminary in England where, lost and homesick, he found comfort in the attentions of an encouraging teacher.

“What I remember most about him was his voice. It was very beguiling and calming,” he says. In his book, Byrne records the evening he was first invited to the man’s room. “I’d never seen it written down before – how you reel in an 11-year-old. Saying, ‘Oh you must be missing a little girl or maybe a little boy?’ Saying, ‘Are you this way? Are you that way?’ Having laid the ground in the most sophisticated way by saying, ‘You’re great at that. You’re terrific.’”

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.