Rhys Ifans sparks row with outburst in praise of date rape

The Welsh actor, infamous for making inappropriate comments, does it again in radio interview

The film star Rhys Ifans has provoked outrage with comments made in a recorded interview that appear to make light of date rape.

Support groups yesterday rounded on the actor- turned-singer after being made aware of the remarks, which will be broadcast this week.

Ifans, 40, who sprang to fame in the film Notting Hill, was asked by the station Q Radio to comment on a track by the band the Gutter Twins. The Welsh star expressed his enthusiasm for the act by saying: "It's kind of like being date raped, which I like."

When pressed further by the presenter on whether date rape was a good thing, Ifans added: "Well yeah, for guys."

The comments, which will be aired on Wednesday, follow a period of turbulence in Ifans's life. Earlier this year he split up with long-term girlfriend, Sienna Miller. Since then, his lifestyle has become more hell-raising. But yesterday he was being depicted as a sad character whose sense of humour was not only poor, but dangerous.

Graham Rhodes of the Roofie Foundation, Britain's only helpline for victims of drug-related rape, was enraged by the comments. "If he wants to retract that, it would be nice for the 9,000 people who have been drug raped in the past 12 years. It shows a total lack of understanding and compassion for the issues. I hope everyone boycotts everything he does now."

The interview with Q Radio is part of Ifans's attempt to break into music. He has set up a band, the Peth, with Dafydd Ieuan of Super Furry Animals.

Ifans narrowly escaped arrest in June after throwing a beer bottle at paparazzi, and earlier this week he is alleged to have again lashed out at photographers.

The lucky lady on his arm of late has been Rod Stewart's daughter Kimberly, whom he took to a lapdancing club for a date.

Earlier this year he made a joke about paedophilia at a concert organised to raise money to end child slavery and prostitution.

Did he say that?

On Wales: Joked in a 2002 interview that he considered taking part in the burning of English-owned houses in the 1980s.

On children: "Why is paedophilia so popular?" he said at an event campaigning against child slavery. "Because kids are so fucking sexy."

In the chippie: "I'm not being told to leave, you motherfucker," it was claimed he barked last month at a chip shop.

At the Baftas: "I'm going to get off my head," was how he said he would celebrate his 2005 win.

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