The increasingly controversial Stephen Fry has stirred up a hornet’s nest by saying that victims of rape should “grow up” and stop feeling sorry for themselves.
The 58-year-old funny man made the comment during an appearance on The Rubin Report, in an interview segment titled Stephen Fry on Political Correctness and Clear Thinking.
Rubin asked the former QI presenter, who has been vocal in his disdain for ‘outrage’ culture and ‘trigger warnings’, if he feared the effect of “the regressive left” on the censorship of language and speech in the UK.
“We fear that it’s going to happen more and more because America leads and Britain follows in all kinds of ways,” Fry replied.
“I think it started to happen in Britain with the attempted removal of statues of people who are considered unlikable — who were once beloved — and have become, in a very 1984 way, ‘unpersons’.”
Fry blasted the “deep infantilism” of today’s culture.
“Life is complicated and nobody wants to believe it,” he said.
“I suppose you might call it the infantilism of society. There is deep infantilism in the culture, in terms of the way they think, they can’t bear complexity.”
The ironic moment when Fry’s comments about outrage culture actually sparked an outrage themselves came when he discussed society’s over-sensitivity to ‘trigger’ words like rape.
“On student campuses… there are many great plays which contain rapes, and the word rape now is even considered a rape.
“They’re terrible things and they have to be thought about, clearly, but if you say you can’t watch this play, you can’t watch Titus Andronicus, or you can’t read it in an English class, or you can’t watch Macbeth because it’s got children being killed in it, it might trigger something when you were young that upset you once, because uncle touched you in a nasty place, well, I’m sorry.
“It’s a great shame and we’re all very sorry that your uncle touched you in that nasty place — you get some of my sympathy — but your self pity gets none of my sympathy.
“Self pity is the ugliest emotion in humanity. Get rid of it, because no one’s going to like you if you feel sorry for yourself. The irony is we’ll feel sorry for you, if you stop feeling sorry for yourself. Just grow up.”
Though some users have been quick to declare that Fry’s comments have been taken out of context, the Twitter response has largely been exactly what you’d expect.
Stephen Fry and his moronic comments are making today a sad day for victims of sexual abuse and those with mental health problems.
— Lady Writes (@LadyWrites_Blog) April 11, 2016
Hi @MindCharity I am a survivor & Stephen Fry has shown utter contempt for us – I don’t think he should be your President anymore
— Ms Erable (@femmenistfatale) April 11, 2016
Former comic Stephen Fry, who flounced from Twitter, says child sexual abuse victims should stop feeling sorry for themselves & grow up
— Will Black (@WillBlackWriter) April 11, 2016
Christ, I used to be such a Stephen Fry fan.
What a pathetic little hypocrite he’s become, or probably always was.
— Kayleigh Anne (@Ceilidhann) April 11, 2016
The only way Stephen Fry’s comments could be ‘taken out of context’ is if the sentence before them was ‘what I’m about to say is wrong’
— Benedict Townsend (@BenedictTown) April 11, 2016
Fry seemed to feel awfully sorry for himself earlier this year, when he quit Twitter in a huff after a joke he made at the BAFTAs went down like a lead balloon.
Fry was roundly slammed after he appeared to criticise Mad Max: Fury Road costume designer Jenny Beavan’s appearance.
“Only one of the great cinematic costume designers would come to an awards ceremony dressed as a bag lady,” he said.
He quickly fired back at his critics, pointing out that he and Beavan are friends, before making his dramatic exit from the social media platform.
“Will all you sanctimonious f–kers f–k the f–k off Jenny Beavan is a friend and joshing is legitimate,” he tweeted.
“Christ I want to leave the planet.”
Do you think Fry has a point about self pity and ‘trigger warnings’, or do you think he went too far? Have your say in the comments below!