London - Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron sparked a flurry of criticism on Friday after she compared media intrusion into her life to rape.
The South African-born star, who was in Britain to promote her new film “A Million Ways To Die In The West”, made the comments when she was asked by a Sky News interviewer if she ever entered her name in a search engine.
She said: “I don't do that, so that's my saving grace. When you start living in that world, and doing that, you start I guess feeling raped.”
Pressed on whether she felt so strongly about the issue, she said: “Well, you know when it comes to your son and your private life. Maybe that's just me.
“Some people might relish all that stuff but there are certain things in my life that I think of as very sacred and I am very protective over them.”
Theron, 38, who won the leading actress Oscar in 2003 for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, runs an anti-HIV project in Africa and has campaigned against sexual violence.
In 1999 she made an advert for the Real Men Don't Rape campaign in her South Africa, telling viewers that every 26 seconds a woman is raped in the country.
Katie Russell, a spokeswoman for sexual violence charity Rape Crisis in England and Wales, said: “What is particularly surprising is that this case does not come out of ignorance as Charlize Theron has been involved in campaigns around rape and sexual violence so she should understand that when she speaks there will be a huge number of victims of sexual violence among her audience.”