Comedian Stephen Fry Quits Twitter in Huff After Bag Lady Joke

Stephen Fry Leaves Twitter After BAFTA
Jonathan Hordle/REX/Shutterstock

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.”

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  1. Eagle Media says:

    Matt Lucas was right, no-one is allowed to do jokes anymore. Unless, of course, it’s crappy and cheap roast on Comedy Central.

  2. Shawna waldron says:

    Editors need to stop writing their opinions into pieces on Variety.

    It comes across as unseemly. If i wanted Variety’s opinion, I’d be a no talent no body like the staff…..

  3. Two Cents says:

    Ms. Beaven is an extremely talented costume designer, and I’ve been impressed by her work over many years…but let’s face it: in the pic of her posted above, she looks like she just exited a crowded subway! The Redmayne gag was hilarious. Folks really need to lighten up.

  4. Derek fleming says:

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! What’s wrong with this stupid ass pc feminist society! !!

  5. BiLL says:

    Mr Fry claims Jenny Beavan to be a ‘dear friend’ and posting a selfie of a rather unenchanted-looking Ms Beavan at an after show party is hardly evidence. The question for Mr Fry is whether a ‘dear friend’ would instead of making a quip backstage about her attire – would really prefer to mock that person to millions on TV and to the Bafta audience that she then has to return and be seated with. And at the moment she wins a great honour from Bafta. Instead of apologising for a silly unkind remark, which could only humiliate the recipient in public , he throws a tantrum, swears at his Twitter follwers and signs of in a huff. Ah, what a gentleman.

    • Barry Wilson says:

      WOW! Dear Bill, I assume you know nothing of being funny having friends and especially professional comedy and the sub genre hosting. The host with writers comes up with jokes beforehand and keep writing reacting to the unfolding events on stage. Good Hosts also ad lib. Friend or not, he saw a joke and told it. It was funny for people with a sense of humour. Since he is her friend that does not mean he is going to waste a joke that will make people laugh by doing it in private. Comedy is hard.
      Also most friends and co workers will make fun of each other. Perhaps that either offends you or you have never seen it happen. While quitting twitter is a shame. I can understand his anger.
      Did you used to get upset every night while Jon Stewart made fun of people each night?

      How sad for you.

    • teriekwilliams says:

      People don’t have to apologize for being unkind.

  6. James Huber says:

    I think this may be less about insulting his friend and more about using “Bag lady” as an insult. Like when you insult someone by calling them “gay”; the problem isn’t that you’re calling them gay, the problem is that you’re implying gays should be looked down upon.

  7. JoJo says:

    Because of the butthurt movement started by Hollywood homosexuals in which feelings are ultra sensitive and everyone is a hater or bully, comedy has been scarified on the altar of the outraged and is officially dead. Large hordes of people make it their daily mission to find something, some thread, some little comment, some joke, SOMETHING to be “Totally outraged” about. What a sad group of “people.”

  8. Lara says:

    Ugh, so bored of this outrage culture.

  9. Frederick Louis Richardson says:

    Amy Schumer makes a “rape joke” and has a fulsome career. Go figure.

  10. John Miller says:

    Fry just needs to own up to what he said. How could he not expect the blow back?

    • Cat says:

      Because Fry made a JOKE, not a commentary. Don’t you remember what a joke was before you joined the lobby of the perpetually offended?

    • Jenny Hitler says:

      He made a joke about how A FRIEND OF HIS was dressed. He has made this clear. Sounds like he has already “owned up to it”. He has no reason to apologize for anything.

      But of course the bloodlust of internet feminists can never be sated until a person is torn limb from limb and burned at the stake for even the most innocuous of imagined sleights.

      • Rosemary says:

        It’s not just the Internet feminists. It’s the Internet anybody. Look at the backlash that female gamers got from male gamers, that liberals get from conservatives, or even the hateful tweets that TV producers/writers get from fans when their “ship” isn’t played or on screen. Twitter is a cesspool for negative comments. I applaud any public figure on there that reads and replies to contents like that.

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