6 Nov 2010, Comments (16)

Why I’m not sorry for Stephen Fry

Author: Helen

Looky this apologia by Stephen Fry for his much blogged and retweeted remarks on women and sex. If you have the time. It goes on… and on… and on. As blogger QoT says, nothing says “I don’t care” like 2,872 words.

So Stephen.

Your original remark was criticised in the media, and you want to get out of it by claiming you’re just a naive retiring type set up by the wicked interviewer? No. Without minimising the tendency of the media to beat things up, you’re a highly paid media megastar, if you hadn’t noticed. Here’s part of the quotation so everyone knows what we’re talking about:

“I feel sorry for straight men. The only reason women will have sex with them is that sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship with a man, which is what they want,”

a lot of your female and/or feminist fans, who love you loved you and see you saw you in many ways as an ally, won’t just point out the wrongness of it – they’ll be hurt and sad. But of course, only your hurt matters. (Oh, and comparing people’s responses to rape? Bonus arsehat points.)

The gist of your latest post – all four pages of it – seems to be that of course you didn’t really think that. In which case, the appropriate response would seem to be “I’m really sorry I made that arseholish remark, I was being flippant and a bit sarcastic and I don’t really hold that view. I can quite understand why being described as cold, calculating manipulators is insulting to women, as well as inaccurate.” What you have said – “there are people out there who actually swallow the notion that I am so stupid as to believe that women don’t enjoy sex. That I not only believe it but that I am dense, dotty and suicidally deluded enough to make a public declaration of such a crazed belief…” doesn’t really cut it as an apology. Because you did kinda, sorta say it, didn’t you? And not only on that occasion.

You’ve simply been asked to own your words. Because just saying you were “taking a thought for a walk”, while presenting yourself as an innocent shut-in who could never have imagined his words would have an impact, is just disingenuous. I’ll spell it out for you. You are a media p-r-o-f-e-s-s-i-o-n-a-l. Your protestations are as convincing as Michael Schuacher whining “Who would have thought that a tyre blowout could make a car spin off course!” You know damn well that when you’re in a media interview and you want to take a thought for a walk, you get your brain to walk with it on a leash.

Now, you want to know why some people are still angry? When you did your silly Twitter flounce, you were responsible for this piece of deliberate bastardry:

[BoganetteNZ: Now after reading this I sent Mr Fry a tweet asking him if he’d been misquoted. Surely he had been – surely someone as intelligent as he is wouldn’t say something so incredibly stupid.
He tweeted to his nearly two million followers the link I’d sent and my name. He said nothing more.
My Twitter almost crashed with the @ comments I got following this.

Just to demonstrate exactly how Boganette “attacked” you, here’s a copy of the offending tweet:

BoganetteNZ: @stephenfry PLEASE tell me you were misquoted and you don’t actually believe this http://bit.ly/aNjbuT

Oh, that’s right, not an attack at all. Just a request for clarification from someone obviously presenting themselves as a fan who’s confused because you’ve unexpectedly retailed a cliche from Misogyny Central.

And for that, Stephen Fry, Boganette got hateful tweets and personal emails for about two straight days from your followers, “FUCK YOU WHORE STEPHEN FRY IS RIGHT”…””Hysterical Bitch”, ..You get the idea. (I’d imagined your followers as fairly erudite types, but I was wrong.) Forgive me if I take your moaning about how persecuted you feel with a pinch of salt.

You flounced, retweeted one person’s comment to everyone to offer her up as some kind of scapegoat although her tweet was perfectly civil, and you didn’t expect such a pile-on? I’m going to take a thought for a walk here, and I agree to own it fully (feed, de-worm and throw bones to it) if I’m wrong. Perhaps you flounce to elicit a storm of praise from your blog commenters and pile-ons on your opponents. This makes you feel loved. It’s a pattern of behaviour not unknown in the blogosphere, and not one I admire.

You should put your big man-pants on and own your own words – and apologise to Boganette.

Comments (16) »

  • QoT says:

    Your protestations are as convincing as Michael Schumacher whining “Who would have thought that a tyre blowout could make a car spin off course!”

    Genius, Helen!

  • Boganette says:

    Thanks for the support. I really appreciate it. Also thanks for quoting my original Tweet. Seems somewhere in the mix people didn’t seem to get that I wasn’t ever rude to Fry.

  • Helen says:

    You deserve it, Boges. The sycophancy all over the internet from Fryfans is making me reach for the sick bucket. My fault for reading his blog / fan tweets, I guess.
    QoT, what a lovely thing to say, but my post is facilitated by reflecting the huge amounts of WIN in yours. Anyone reading this comment, make sure you click on QoT’s link and read the posts on Fry – they set out the issues very comprehensively and clearly. They also deal with the other issue of why women appear not to like sex / enjoy sex differently to gay men – I’ve only dealt with the “manipulative” part of his comment here.

  • Yatima says:


  • @omnesensual says:

    I guess the only thing remaining to be said, is “absolute power corrupts, absolutely”.

  • mimbles says:

    Spot on Helen. Off to read QoT’s posts now.

  • Staan Quimby says:

    Makes me a little curious as to why Stephen Fry needs to constantly comment on vaginas and a woman’s sex life. Why would an elegant, graceful and handsome gay man feel the need to do this?
    Oh well, better we’d better not be mean as this may drive him to depression..

  • Amanda says:

    Thanks for the linkage Helen 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    The nature of the comments pouring in to Boganette are all the proof a person needs that we live in a world hostile toward women. “Hysterical Bitch”? Really? Words, they fail me.

  • Sedge says:

    Stephen, generally I love your work but PLEASE stick to the knitting lest you end up looking like a really silly bugger.

  • […] Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony: Why I’m Not Sorry For Stephen Fry […]

  • merryn says:

    The nature of the comments pouring in to Boganette are all the proof a person needs that we live in a world hostile toward women. “Hysterical Bitch”? And let not skip “FUCK YOU WHORE STEPHEN FRY IS RIGHT”. Indeed these comments should act as a response to Fry’s comments that it’s women’s fault that heterosexual masculinity leaves them cold. I can’t ever imagine why. Fry needs to go ‘undercover’ by taking a feminine pseudonym a head strait for one his most cherished spaces on earth – the online science community. Then let him fully appreciate the ‘mystery’ about why women don’t ‘like’ sex as much as men. After all, it’s not our biology.

  • re Author Kathy Lette, aka Mrs Geoffrey Robertson, interviewed August 2010 …
    ‘of her own novels her favorite is ‘How to kill your husband’ which she wrote after reading that 50%of the workforce does 99% of the household chores. She says “and then by the time you get into bed the one thing you are fantasising about is sleep but you get The Hand …” (she mimes a man’s hand groping toward her).

  • I must have slept through this one (or got distracted by Crookssource). Some gay guys just don’t understand straight women. But that doesn’t excuse him for taking those thoughts for a walk.

    …then again there are hell of a lot of straight guys who don’t get women either.

  • paul walter says:

    You seem all a little antsy with someone who would be happy to be a Fry on the Wall witness to your chagrin.
    Look, it just narcissism, a unfortunate trait magnified by the BBC’s idea that all thespians must be Oscar Wilde reincarnations; True Pythonesque Brits Abroad and true reminders of the ‘forties of last century, nostalgically recalled in some circles as an era when pipe and slippers was in charge and Father Knew Best.

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