Coronation Street's Bill Roache has sparked fury by claiming that sex abuse victims are paying the price for their behaviour in previous lives.
In an interview with New Zealand's One News Channel, the 80-year-old actor also appeared to defend famous men who sleep with underage girls.
Roache told TVNZ Europe correspondent Garth Bray in an interview screened on Sunday night that it was easy for famous men to be "trapped" by groupies who threw themselves at them.
Interviewer Bray asked: “To some people that sounds perhaps like you’re saying victims bring things on themselves – is that what you’re saying?”
Roache replied: “Not quite, but then yes I am, because everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives.”
The story has made the front page of the Daily Mirror in the UK under an almost full-page headline saying: "Corrie Ken: Sex victims bring it on themselves. Fury as Roache says they're punished for past sins."
Speaking about the increase in sex assault cases, Roache also people should not be judgmental of the accused.
"If someone has done something wrong, the law will take its course. But even so, all of us, whether they're proven guilty or not, we should not be judgmental about anybody, ever," he said.
"We shouldn't go around condemning, unforgiving. We should always be totally forgiving about everything."
Roache is a member of the Pure Love Movement, which advocates that love can cure illness and end suffering.
Of paedophilia, Roache said it was a complex issue that had been “stirred up” by the Jimmy Savile case.
He added: “Paedophilia is absolutely horrendous. Paedophiles should be sought out, rooted out and dealt with.
“But there’s a fringe of people who, particularly pop singers, they have these groupies. These girls - they’re sexually active, sexually mature.
"They don’t ask for their birth certificate; they don’t know what age they may be, but they’re certainly not grooming them and exploiting them…They can be caught in this trap.
“These people are instantly stigmatised…Some will be innocent, some will not, but until such time as it’s proven there should be anonymity for both.”
Watch the full video interview on the TVNZ website here.
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