Michael Douglas’ public relations team went into damage control mode Monday, insisting the actor never said he contracted throat cancer from oral sex.
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“He wants to make it very clear he never said that was the particular cause of his particular cancer,” Douglas’ publicist, Allen Burry, told the Daily News.
Douglas’ flack was forced to backtrack after his boss, in an eyebrow raising interview with The Guardian newspaper, blamed his cancer on “a sexually transmitted disease that causes cancer.” “This particular cancer is caused by HPV, which actually comes about from” oral sex, he said.
The 68-year-old star had previously blamed the cancer that sidelined him on nicotine and alcohol. Burry refused to concede Douglas’ words might have caused people to conclude he got cancer from sex. And when pressed whether Douglas tested positive for one of the human papilloma virus strains linked to oral cancer, Burry said, “I don’t think it’s really anybody’s business anymore.”
Douglas was honored by the American Cancer Society Monday at the Hudson Theater. “I have one footnote to make,” he said to laughter. “I’ve become, I think, in the past 24 hours a sort of poster boy for oral cancer, and just so you all understand, I think we would all love to know where our cancer comes from. “I simply, to a reporter, tried to give a little PSA announcement about HPV, a virus that can cause oral cancer, and is one of the few areas of cancer that can be controlled and there are vaccinations that kids can get. So that was my attempt.”
His ex-wife Diandra told TMZ.com that she doesn’t have HPV, and her actor ex didn’t catch anything from her.
Douglas’ current wife, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, had no comment.