Actor Henry Cavill has apologised for "any confusion and misunderstanding" over comments he made around the #MeToo movement that sparked a backlash online.

The Man Of Steel star gave an interview to GQ Australia magazine in which he said he feels hesitant to talk to women in a flirtatious manner because he fears being called "a rapist or something".

In a statement released through his manager Dany Garcia, the British actor said: "Having seen the reaction to an article, in particular about my feelings on dating and the #MeToo movement, I just wanted to apologise for any confusion and misunderstanding that this may have created.

"Insensitivity was absolutely not my intention. In light of this I would just like to clarify and confirm to all that I have always and will continue to hold women in the highest of regard, no matter the type of relationship whether it be friendship, professional, or a significant other. Never would I intend to disrespect in any way, shape or form.

"This experience has taught me a valuable lesson as to the context and the nuance of editorial liberties. I look forward to clarifying my position in the future towards a subject that is so vitally important and which I wholeheartedly support." 

The 35-year-old actor, who is starring in the upcoming Mission: Impossible - Fallout, was asked by the GQ interviewer what he thought about the anti-sexual harassment movement that swept Hollywood last year following Harvey Weinstein's downfall, and what he learned about it.

Cavill said he had been "fortunate enough to not be around the kind of people that behave that way" in reference to the stars who have been accused of sexual harassment. "I know there have been situations with people I’ve worked with being perhaps overfamiliar with some of the actresses. But, I’ve always walked up to them and said, ‘Hey, are you all right? That’s creepy’."

When asked if the revelations made him reflect his own behaviour with women, he responded: "I like to think that I’ve never been like that. I think any human being alive today, if someone casts too harsh a light on anything, you could be like, ‘Well, OK, yeah, when you say it like that, maybe.’

"But it’s such a delicate and careful thing to say because there’s flirting which, for example, in a social environment is in context – and is acceptable. And that has been done to me as well, in return."

Man Of Steel actor Henry Cavill apologises for controversial comments

"Stuff has to change, absolutely," he added of men’s behaviour. "It’s important to also retain the good things, which were a quality of the past, and get rid of the bad things.

"There’s something wonderful about a man chasing a woman. There’s a traditional approach to that, which is nice. I think a woman should be wooed and chased, but maybe I’m old-fashioned for thinking that.

"It’s very difficult to do that if there are certain rules in place. Because then it’s like: ‘Well, I don’t want to go up and talk to her, because I’m going to be called a rapist or something’. So you’re like, ‘Forget it, I’m going to call an ex-girlfriend instead, and then just go back to a relationship, which never really worked’. But it’s way safer than casting myself into the fires of hell, because I’m someone in the public eye, and if I go and flirt with someone, then who knows what’s going to happen?

"Now? Now you really can’t pursue someone further than, ‘No’. It’s like, ‘OK, cool’. But then there’s the, ‘Oh why’d you give up?’ And it’s like, ‘Well, because I didn’t want to go to jail?’"

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