Stephen Fry has opted to delete his Twitter account following a wave of backlash from a joke he made while presenting the 69th British Academy Film Awards on February 14.
Fry found himself on the receiving end of criticism after he referred to costume designer Jenny Beavan as a “bag lady” during the ceremony, which aired on the BBC on Valentine’s Day.
According to OK! Magazine, the controversy began when Beavan took to the BAFTA stage to accept her award for Best Costume Designer for her work on the Mad Max: Fury Road wearing a decidedly casual outfit for the typically formal black tie affair.
Rather than dressing up for the annual film event, which took place at London’s Royal Opera House, Beavan instead opted to attend the event wearing a leather jacket, black trousers, a white top, and a green scarf.
After the costume designer accepted the prestigious award in front of stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Kate Winslet, Stephen Fry then remarked, “Only one of the great cinematic costume designers would come to the awards ceremony dressed like a bag lady.”
— Marie Claire (@marieclaireuk) February 14, 2016
But while the Royal Opera house audience appeared to laugh at Fry’s joke during the ceremony, outraged viewers took to Twitter to brand Stephen’s remark as “misogynistic” and “horrid.”
“Stephen Fry proves once again that he is a gross, misogynistic pig #EEBAFTAs,” Twitter user @AubreyAdora wrote on the 140-character site, while @jo_elvin wrote, “Uncool of Stephen Fry to say bafta winning costume designer dressed like a ‘bag lady’. I was thinking it was cool she wore what she wanted.”
Fabulous magazine’s assistant editor, Beth Neil, also gave her two cents on the social media site, writing, “Stephen Fry’s ‘dressed as a bag lady’ joke about the winner of costume design was horrid. True colours, there. #BAFTA”
But while many took to social media to express their disappointment over Stephen Fry’s controversial joke, others sent messages of support to the BAFTA host.
“@stephenfry you’re great at presenting! It’s a shame some people don’t have a sense of humour,” @AccioClotpole wrote on February 15.
BBC Radio 1 host Scott Mills also supported Stephen Fry in a tweet, stating, “I thought @stephenfry was an excellent host tonight. Dealing with the biggest stars in the world is scary. I find this. He is a natural.”
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) February 15, 2016
But while his account is no longer accessible on the social media site, BBC News is reporting that Fry did reference the controversy before allegedly deleting his account.
According to the site, Stephen Fry referred to Beavan as “a dear friend” in a tweet following the ceremony, telling his millions of fans that she “got” the joke and was not offended by the claim. Fry also took to the site to post a shot of himself and the Best Costume Designer award winner, which he jokingly captioned “Jenny Baglady Beavan and Stephen Outrageous Misogynist Swine Fry at the after party.”
Stephen Fry’s decision to wave bye bye to the social media site, at least temporarily, comes just one day after the actor and comedian remarked during an interview on The Jonathan Ross Show that the site “has changed” since he first joined several years ago.
“It has changed,” Stephen told Ross of the social media site last week, revealing that Twitter expanded in the UK after he and the talk show host discussed the phenomenon on the British late night talk show.
“We chatted about it and it just went ‘whooosh’ in Britain,” Fry revealed, “But I sometimes wonder when I look in my inbox how many actually want to say something to me… because 95% of them are people asking me to tweet something for them.”
[Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images]