Popular public figure Stephen Fry issues heartfelt response to backlash after TV interview comments
Writer, presenter, actor and mental health campaigner Stephen Fry has made an unreserved apology to survivors of childhood sexual abuse for appearing to suggest they should “grow up” and stop obsessing about it.
Mr. Fry, whose huge following on Twitter has led to many of his comments receiving disproportionate media attention, has long campaigned to support sufferers of depression and mental illness.
He is President of the mental health charity Mind, on whose website he clarified what he had intended to say in a TV interview earlier this month for US show, The Rubin Report.
Mind, in its own statement, said it understood why people reacted to his comments but stressed Mr. Fry had done a huge amount to raise awareness and understanding about bipolar disorder and other mental health problems.
In his very full and frank statement Mr. Fry said: “It distresses me greatly to think that I have upset anyone in the course of the TV interview I had the other week.
“I of course apologise unreservedly for hurting feelings the way I did. That was never my purpose.
“There are few experiences more terrible, traumatic and horrifying than rape and abuse and if I gave the impression that I belittled those crimes and the effects they have on their victims then I am so, so sorry.
“It seems I must have utterly failed to get across what I was actually trying to say and instead offended and upset people who didn’t deserve to be offended or upset.”
In the interview Mr Fry originally said:
“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 a Shakespeare class, or you can’t read 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 because self-pity is the ugliest emotion in humanity…grow up.”