Stop me if you hard this one before, but a well-known American known for his larger-than-life and uncompromising persona on the screen… who has recently had accusations made against him about his conduct regarding women… who has been dabbling in politics and has been seen with Russian president Vladimir Putin… is now speaking out about taking meetings to further ties between the US and Russia.
In case you were wondering, the person here is not a President but actually Russia’s Foreign Ministry’s choice for Special Representative to the US for Humanitarian Ties…a man otherwise known as…Steven Seagal.
Seagal was, of course, a massive name in the action genre during the 1980s and 1990s when he made such memorable features as Under Siege, Above the Law, On Deadly Ground and Executive Decision but despite being a well-known face, he found his star-power fading from the multiplexes in the early 2000s. That being said he continues to have a prolific turnover in ‘straight-to-DVD’ and lower-budget fare, often making three or four films every year.
He was presented with a Russian passport and citizenship of the country in 2016 after the martial-arts actor spoke of his support for the country and its controversial annexing of Crimea in 2014. He has rubbished claims of Russian interference in US elections and cited Putin as ‘a great world leader’. Seagal’s stance was not a popular one and actually saw him banned from the Ukraine for five years after that country’s administration cited ‘security reasons’.
Equally, he has been in other off-screen news including being accused of misconduct by several actors including Julianna Margulies, Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Rachel Grant, Eva Larue and Regina Simons – claims he denies. However, given the sheer number of allegations and the key negative opinions of him by some outspoken people in the industry, he is believed to be one of the names being looked at by a task force created to explore the recent serious allegations of sexual misconduct in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. No charges have been brought at time of writing and Seagal has denied any wrongdoing.
“Mr. Seagal denies all accusations and continues to stand his ground that he has not engaged in any such misconduct. The allegations that have been made against Mr. Seagal are false and have no substantive material support,” Seagal’s lawyer said in the statement earlier this year.
The Special Representative role, announced this weekend, is an unpaid position akin to a UN ‘Special Envoy’ and aimed more at ‘cultural, arts , public and youth exchanges‘ and ‘people diplomacy‘.
“I’ve always had a very strong desire to do all I can to help improve Russian-American relations,” Seagal apparently told Russia’s official network RT. “I have worked tirelessly in this direction for many years unofficially and I am now very grateful for the opportunity to do the same thing officially.”