In addition to being an accomplished Shakespearean actor, a sci-fi legend, and a British knight, it turns out Sir Patrick Stewart is also an incredible human being. A YouTube clip of a Q&A at Comicpalooza in Houston captures a fan named Heather Skye thanking Stewart for his 2009 Amnesty International speech about domestic violence against women. She then asks him “Besides acting, what are you most proud of that you’ve done in your life?”
Stewart takes the opportunity to speak about his own experiences growing up and why he is so dedicated to the cause of stopping domestic violence. “The people who could do most to improve the situation of so many women and children are in fact men. It’s in our hands to stop violence towards women. I do what I do in my mother’s name because I couldn’t help her then. Now I can.” Stewart works with a British organization called Refuge that provides safe houses for victims of domestic violence.
Stewart also speaks about his recent discovery that his father suffered from post-traumatic stress after WWII and this contributed to his violent behavior. To honor his father, Stewart also works with another British organization called Combat Stress which helps soldiers returning from war zones deal with mental health issues.
After Skye mentions that many women are blamed for the violence forced upon them, Stewart explains, “As a child I heard in my home doctors and ambulance men say ‘Mrs. Stewart you must have done something to provoke him. Mrs. Stewart, it takes two to make an argument.’ Wrong. Wrong. My mother did nothing to provoke that. And if she had, violence is never, ever a choice a man should make.”
Skye wrote about the experience on her blog, highlighting the moment when the moderator asks if she wants a hug. “Sir Patrick didn't even hesitate, he smiled, hopped off the stage and came over to embrace me in a hug. … He held me there for a long while. He told me 'You never have to go through that again, you're safe now.' I couldn't stop thanking him. His embrace was so warm and genuine. It was two people, two strangers, supporting and giving love. And when we pulled away he looked straight in my eyes, like he was promising that. He told me to take care. And I will.”
While there may still be debate about who is the greatest Star Trek captain, it seems pretty indisputable that Patrick Stewart is a fucking amazing person.