A spokesman for Michael Douglas denied on Monday that the veteran Hollywood actor had blamed his throat cancer on oral sex, in a British newspaper interview.
But the paper involved, the Guardian, stuck to its guns and posted an audio clip of the interview on its website , insisting that Douglas had been referring to his own cancer being caused by cunnilingus.
Douglas’ spokesman Allen Burry said the 68-year-old “Fatal Attraction” star had discussed the link between oral cancers and oral sex, among other risk factors, but was not referring to his own specific case.
“Michael did not say cunnilingus was the cause of his cancer,” spokesman Burry told AFP.
“He certainly discussed oral sex in the article, and oral sex is a suspected cause of certain oral cancers, as the doctors in the article did point out. But he did not say this was the specific cause of his personal cancer.”
In the newspaper interview Douglas, who stars in the just-released biopic of flamboyant entertainer Liberace, “Behind The Candelabra,” said his cancer was caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).
According to the audio clip, the Guardian journalist asked him: Do you feel, in hindsight, that you overloaded your system? Overloaded your system with drugs, smoking, drink?
“Without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV, which actually comes about from cunnilingus,” Douglas replied.
Douglas’s spokesman said the actor was talking in general, not personal terms. “This is not the cause of his cancer,” he said.
A spokesman for Guardian News & Media noted that Burry “has claimed that the actor did not say in an interview with the Guardian that his particular cancer was caused by cunnilingus.
“We have posted the relevant audio and transcript to prove that he did,” he said.
“The Guardian firmly denies this charge of misrepresentation. Mr Burry was not present at the (interview); the only two people present were Mr Douglas and the Guardian writer, Xan Brooks,” the paper noted online.
Burry, who did not immediately respond to request for further comment after the audio clip was posted, said earlier that he had not sought a correction from the British newspaper.
“I’m not asking the Guardian to do anything, I think they did enough already,” he said.
The two-time Oscar winner revealed in 2010 that he was battling with stage-four cancer, but beat the disease thanks to a grueling regime of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
“I have to check in regularly - now it’s every six months - but I’m more than two years clear,” he told the Guardian. “And with this kind of cancer, 95 per cent of the time it doesn’t come back.”
Research studies from Malmo University’s Faculty of Odontology and in The New England Journal of Medicine both suggest a correlation between oral sex and throat cancer.
HPV infection is also the cause of 99 per cent of cases of cervical cancer, according to studies cited by Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).
Douglas’ wife, Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, in April received further treatment for bipolar disorder.
The Welsh actress, 43, won an Academy Award in 2003 for her supporting role in “Chicago” and has appeared in films such as “Traffic” and “Ocean’s Twelve.”