No awards night passes uneventfully. There is always a joke that goes a little too far or an awkward moment that makes the whole world cringe.
Last night at the Baftas host Stephen Fry referred to Jenny Beavan, the winner of the Costume Design award, as a “bag lady.” When fans complained on Twitter he told them to “f*** off” before deleting his account.
“Only one of the great cinematic costume designers would come to the awards ceremony dressed like a bag lady,” Fry quipped as Beavan collected her award.
Some viewers were furious.
— Abbie (@Le_Wobusier) February 14, 2016
— zoe johnston (@zjohnston1) February 14, 2016
The outrage machine that is Twitter was a little OTT last night given that Fry’s comments were complimentary (he called Beavan “one of the great cinematic costume designers”) and that his dig was meant in the nicest possible way — Fry and Beavan are actually friends.
Before deleting his account, Fry made this point clear (retweeted):
This is not the first time that Stephen Fry has got into trouble for his comments via social media. In 2010 he claimed that women likely don’t enjoy sex as much as men, that “sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship” and that he felt sorry for straight men as a result.
The problematic nature of his claims led to an onslaught of criticism. On his blog he clarified the intention of his statements:
“At a time when morale is low in the gay community (a chronic rise in homophobia, teenage suicides, gay bashing and religious intolerance) I thought it worth making the light enough point that in some ways you could see the male gay life as a lot easier than the male straight life. But to read anything more into it than that is either wilful or stupid. I know that women enjoy sex. If women also say (and I’m in no position to agree or disagree with them) that they have as equally insistent and urgent libidos as men then I have no doubt that must be true also. It is perhaps sad to think that they are as pathetically in the grip of a base and humiliating need to get their rocks off as men are, but if that is the case then that is the case and god knows I’m no expert on the subject and have no right either to confirm or deny the proposition.”
Right or wrong, it’s easy to see why Fry might be looking for a break from other people’s commentary about how dreadful he is. Haters are going to hate but that doesn’t mean you should have to pay attention.