In Brief

Stephen Fry tells abuse victims to 'grow up'

'National treasure' status in jeopardy after actor and writer makes contentious comments on US talk show

wd-_stephen_fry.jpg

Stephen Fry is facing an angry response on social media after telling survivors of childhood sexual abuse: "Just grow up."

His comments may have been taken slightly out of context, however. The actor was referring specifically to people who have had a traumatic event in the past and now avoid reading or watching anything that might remind them of it.

Fry was speaking on US TV show The Rubin Report, which styles itself as "a politically incorrect talk show about big ideas".

He 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.

"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."

Fry's "national treasure" status seems to be in jeopardy with some, judging by the response on social media. One user accused him of "jaw-dropping insensitivity" and another of "moronic comments". 

 Fry quit Twitter earlier this year, after his comments at the Bafta awards on the appearance of award-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan provoked online anger.

Pointing out that Beavan was a personal friend and not offended, the actor, who has left the social media site before, said Twitter had become a "stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous".

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