The actor clarified his comments after an article in the Times of London claimed he was leaving Hollywood

By Blake Bakkila
Updated December 18, 2016 03:30 PM

Michael Sheen is addressing a recent interview published by The Times of London, which claimed that Sheen said he was giving up Hollywood to become a political activist back in his native England.

“I did one interview with The Times of London a few weeks ago, parts of which (including a headline that is not a quote) have been picked up by a lot of other outlets. I did not declare that I’m ‘quitting acting and leaving Hollywood’ to go into politics,” Sheen, 47, said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

He continued: “In the actual original interview I said I have become more involved with community issues back at home over the last few years and because of the political situation it’s something I would like to focus on more. The interviewer asked me what that meant for my career and I said it might mean I work less as an actor and maybe even stop for a while at some point. But I don’t really know yet.”

He also directed his statement toward the Times writer’s claim that the pro-Brexit and pro-Trump voters were the same as the “hard right” he is fighting against.

“I certainly did not equate people who voted for Brexit or Trump with a fascistic ‘hard right’ that must be stopped,” he said. “The majority of people in the U.K., including my hometown of Port Talbot, voted for Brexit. That is the will of the people and is to be respected. That is democracy. Given the concerns around the economy in the area I come from and its industrial history I totally empathize with the dissatisfaction with the status quo that the vote was partially an expression of.

“What I think must be resisted is the re-emerging spectre of fascism in the West,” he continued. “Our democracy must be defended and each of us needs to decide how we can contribute to that effort.”

  • With reporting by MARIA MERCEDES LARA