Sir Ian McKellen has apologised after he insinuated Kevin Spacey and Bryan Singer ''abused'' people because they were ''in the closet''.

Both Kevin and Bryan have been accused of sexual harassment by men who were underage at the time of the alleged incidents, and earlier this week, the 79-year-old actor - who came out as gay in 1988 - seemed to suggest their ''problems'' had stemmed from being secretive about their sexuality.

He had said: ''Both of them were in the closet. Hence all their problems as people and their relationships with other people. If they had been able to be open about themselves and their desires, they wouldn't have started abusing people in the way they're being accused.''

But now, the 'Lord of the Rings' actor has backtracked on his comments, and has ''apologised unreservedly'' for making ''careless remarks''.

In a statement, Ian said: ''As part of an extended podcast recently, I suggested that if closeted people were instead open about their sexuality they wouldn't abuse others. That, of course, is wrong.

''I would never, ever trivialise or condone abuse of any kind. I deeply regret my careless remarks and apologise unreservedly for any distress I caused.

''When it comes to abuse by people in positions of power, the correct response is clear.

''The accusers must be heard and the accused given the opportunity to clear their names. If the accusations prove credible, the abuser's access to power should be removed.''

Kevin was first accused of sexual misconduct by actor Anthony Rapp, who alleged the star made sexual advances on him when he was just 14. He has also been accused of inappropriate behaviour by over 20 people during his time as artistic director at the Old Vic theatre in London.

Bryan, meanwhile, was recently accused of sexually assaulting four men whilst they were underage, though he has since branded the report as a ''homophobic smear piece''.