A shocked Walters put the question to Connery: “You think it’s good to slap a woman?” in a resurfaced 1987 interview.
The famed journalist asked the former 007 this question after he made some comments about attacking women in an interview with Playboy magazine back in 1965.
At the time, the actor – who played James Bond from 1962 to 1971 with Eon, before playing the hero again in 1983 – said: “I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong about hitting a woman, although I don’t recommend doing it in the same way that you’d hit a man.” He noted that an “openhanded slap” would be “justified” if “all other alternatives fail and there has been plenty of warning”.
He added: “If a woman is a b***h, or hysterical, or b****y-minded continually, then I’d do it.”
Walters quizzed Connery on these comments, and he responded: “I don’t think it’s good. I don’t think it’s bad. But it depends entirely on the circumstances and if it merits it.”
Walters continued to drill the 007 star, asking him what kind of circumstances would “merit” slapping a woman. “Well, if you have tried everything else,” he replied. “And women are pretty good at this, they can’t leave it alone. They want to have the last word, and you give them the last word, but they’re not happy with the last word. They want to say it again, and get into a really provocative situation. Then – I think it’s absolutely right.”
He went on to reiterate: “Seriously, it’s the last resort. He’s not gonna do it because he wants to do it.”
Walters smirked: “Wait until people see this interview. You’re gonna get mail.”
Six years later, in 1993, Connery spoke with Vanity Fair where he defended his interview with Walters. He claimed his words had been taken out of context.
“They taped two hours of me and only showed 20 minutes,” he said. “Barbara Walters was trying to get me to say it was okay to hit women. But I was really saying that to slap a woman was not the crudest thing you can do to her.” He added: “I said that in my book – it’s much more cruel to psychologically damage somebody. That’s what they’re looking for, the ultimate confrontation – they want a smack.” (sic)
Walters’ official cause of death has not been announced, but she had previously dealt with some heart issues. She was 93-years-old.
CEO of Disney and owner of ABC, Bob Igor, confirmed the death in a statement. He said: “I have sad news to share today as Barbara Walters passed away this evening at her home in New York. Barbara was a true legend, a pioneer, not just for women in journalism, but for journalism itself.”
He added: “She was a one of a kind reporter who landed many of the most important interviews of our time; from heads of state to the biggest celebrities and sports icons. I had the pleasure of calling Barbara a colleague for more than three decades. More importantly, I was able to call her a dear friend. She will be missed by all of us at the Walt Disney company and we send our deepest condolences to her daughter.” (sic)