British comics are known for their biting humor, but BAFTA host Stephen Fry went a little too far in some peoples’ eyes when he called Oscar-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan a “bag lady” during the Sunday awards show.
Beavan had exited the stage after winning the costume design award for “Mad Max: Fury Road” when Fry quipped, “Only one of the great cinematic costume designers would come to an awards ceremony dressed as a bag lady.”
Although he had attempted to explain that he and the 10-time Oscar nommed designer were friends and that she was in on the joke, he grew frustrated, tweeting, “Will all you sanctimonious f—ers f– the f– off Jenny Beavan is a friend and joshing is legitimate. Christ I want to leave the planet.”
He attempted to undo the damage by tweeting a photo of himself with Beavan at the afterparty, but Fry was so ticked off at the volume of tweets and comments calling him misogynistic and mean that he deleted his Twitter account, writing on his website that the social media site is “a stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous” and observing, “If you don’t watch yourself, with every move you’ll end up being gashed, broken, bruised or contused.” Apparently he finds dishing it out easier than taking it, as he’s pulled the deleting stunt several times in the past, only to later restore his account.
The flap recalls the response when fellow Brit Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globes the first two times, and his jokes about Scientologists, Charlie Sheen and the HFPA pushed the limit so far that viewers speculated he had been fired in the middle of the 2011 show.
Fry also came under fire for his introduction for Eddie Redmayne. “He has been a man trapped in his own body, a woman trapped in a man’s body and, if I had my way, a man trapped in my basement,” he joked.
Comedians have a hard balancing act in the time of outrage culture, and BAFTA presenter Rebel Wilson also came in for criticism after daring to joke very mildly about diversity. Meanwhile British actor Matt Lucas tweeted at Fry, “Didn’t you get the memo? No-one is allowed to do jokes anymore.”