Did Stephen Fry quit Twitter after being slammed for a misogynistic interview?

44501, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - Monday September 6, 2010. Stephen Fry at the Tamara Drewe UK Premiere at Odeon Leicester Square. Photograph: PacificCoastNews.com

That’s a big question, and it involves a lengthy story. Here are the basics: Stephen Fry is a very famous and beloved British actor and comedian. He’s BFFs with people like Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson. American audiences may know him from his reocurring guest appearances in Bones (as Dr. Gordon Gordon Wyatt), as well as… you know, British things. Oh, he was in Gosford Park! Anyway, Fry is a famously good interview, so no one blinked an eye when he seemed to give an interesting and in-depth interview to Attitude Magazine. The quotes were… not good, however. And Fry took to his Twitter and wrote: “So some f*cking paper misquotes a humorous interview I gave, which itself misquoted me and now I’m the Antichrist. I give up. Bye bye.” So now it looks like he’s quit Twitter over the alleged “misquotes”. So what was the problem, you may ask? The quotes are just… awful:

Broadcaster and writer Stephen Fry has tried to establish himself as an unlikely authority on female sexuality, claiming that straight women only go to bed with men “because sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship”.

In uncharacteristically extreme comments, the openly gay Twitter champion said he believed most straight men felt that “they disgust women” as they “find it difficult to believe that women are as interested in sex as they are”.

“For good reason,” he declares in a candid interview in the November issue of Attitude magazine. “If women liked sex as much as men, there would be straight cruising areas in the way there are gay cruising areas. Women would go and hang around in churchyards thinking: ‘God, I’ve got to get my f-cking rocks off’, or they’d go to Hampstead Heath and meet strangers to shag behind a bush. It doesn’t happen. Why? Because the only women you can have sex with like that wish to be paid for it.”

Fry, 53, continues: “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,” he said. “Of course, a lot of women will deny this and say, ‘Oh no, but I love sex, I love it!’ But do they go around having it the way that gay men do?”

[From The Guardian]

So… yeah. Basically saying that all women are prudish hookers incapable of getting off unless they’re being “paid” has upset a lot of people. Feminists want his balls, and I’m not sure how quitting Twitter is supposed to help matters. I would be interested in knowing if Fry said any of this – I suspect he did, in some variation, but the context would also be key. Fry fancies himself a satirist, so maybe we’re not reading this with the proper tone, wink and nod that we need. I’m trying to cut the guy a break – but I’ll be the first one to rip him a new one if he actually said this junk in earnest.

Also: Just FYI, I think women don’t go “cruising” (trolling) for strange the same way men do simply because women can keep it in their pants, you know? We’re not animals. We have standards. That being said, I’ve gone out before thinking “I need to get laid tonight.” But still, standards. I’ve never needed it so bad I would do it in the bushes of a public park.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 01: Stephen Fry attends summer fundraising party for The Old Vic Theatre at Battersea Power station on July 1, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Neil Mockford/Getty Images)

46882, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - Sunday October 31 2010. Stephen Fry at Jonathan Ross and Jane Goldman's annual Halloween extravaganza at their London home. Photograph:  Ringo, PacificCoastNews.com

Stephen Fry, who portrays Dr. Gordon Wyatt in the television crime drama Bones , attends the show's 100th episode celebration in West Holywood, California on April 7, 2010.  UPI/Jim Ruymen Photo via Newscom

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50 Responses to “Did Stephen Fry quit Twitter after being slammed for a misogynistic interview?”

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  1. LOL who cares? it’s probably out of context i can’t see him saying it and meaning it like that…
    Also he’ll be back to twitter just like when Lily Allen said she quit, they’re both addicted to twitter.

  2. leV says:

    He said similar mysogynistic things in the past. This isn’t the first time.

  3. Kaboom says:

    “We’re not animals”

    So gay men are, in your opinion?

  4. Crash2GO2 says:

    Well he’s just being stupid. Women and men are simply different (duh). Most women enjoy sex much much more with someone they have an emotional connection with, and you don’t get that from hanging out in the street hoping to bang a random stranger.

    If he says his quotes were taken out of context, why doesn’t he put them in the context he would like us to hear them in?

  5. meg says:

    i suspect he knows as much about straight women as i do about nuclear physics. (side note: I majored in acting.)

  6. heatheradair says:

    agreed with the “who cares?” sentiment. Not to mention he isn’t presently having sex with women, so his believability as any sort of authority on the female sex drive is exactly nil. I wouldn’t waste the energy getting my poor frigid panties in a tangle over this one.

  7. LOVE ANGELINA says:

    Yay he was probably joking. He can’t possible believe women don’t like sex and only do it for money.

  8. Kaiser says:

    Kaboom – No, not gay men. MEN. Men are more “animals” than women.

  9. leV says:

    Since when is it okay to pass misogyny as a joke?

  10. jen says:

    A celebrity said something stupid??!! Well knock me over with a feather!

  11. Rose says:

    This wouldn’t be the first time Fry has flounced off twitter. He’ll be back.

  12. Attagirl says:

    This commentary is from a man who was famously celibate and afraid of sex until about 10 years ago. It’s sort of like Pamela Anderson handing out advice on how to age gracefully. He’s a miserable, snarky old c*nt and should issue an immediate retraction and apology. What a wanker….

  13. jen says:

    I just don’t see how this is misogynistic. It seems to be more self-deprecating toward men but with sarcasm. There’s no “hatred” towards women, which is what misogyny means. It’s simply stereotypical and over generalizing the long-held belief by most of society that men like sex and women don’t. How is that misogyny? Didn’t Gloria Steinem say the same thing about married women? Yes, she got a little grief for it, but she was serious. She’s hailed as a feminist and Stephen Fry is crucified for a joke?

  14. LadyBea says:

    When you read Fry’s comments you need to keep in mind that he is gay AND he is OLD.

    Fry came of age in an era when cottaging was one of the few ways for gay men to meet other gay men. I think that one of the benefits of the gay rights movement is that gay men (and women) don’t have to resort to clandestine, and dangerous habits in order to engage in sex. His assumption that cottaging is healthy (for homosexuals or heterosexuals) is old-fashioned and reduces homosexuality to an ugly stereotype.

    Women like sex. Personally I prefer sex within a committed relationship, but it was not always that way. To sate those needs I went to bars or called up male friends who were more than happy to assist me to “get my f-cking rocks off,” as Fry would say.

    I’m not sure if Fry’s quitting Twitter is a positive. He’s saved himself a bit of stress having to deal with the fall out of this stupid interview, but he’s also denied himself a chance to clarify his statements.

    (And Comment #12 is hysterical!)

  15. Megan says:

    i found those comments funny… my hub is like that… he wants sex every night and i’m kinda like meh… i thought something was wrong with me, so this makes me feel better 😛

  16. BW says:

    I’m a woman, and I kinda sorta I agree with him in a funny way. Also, I know he was probably trying to be funny and sarcastic, and they just don’t make a sarcasm font so you can “get” the tone of voice. Plus, I’m sure the journalist or editor did take everything out of context which makes it look even worse.

  17. REALIST says:

    I usually love everything that Stephen Fry is involved in.
    Note he is Bipolar (Manic-Depressive), he even allowed himself to be filmed in a documentary on the subject for the BBC. I am Bipolar-II, the less severe form of the disease; even so, about every six months I get so chatty I have to clench my teeth (or down myself on Klonapin-like Valium) to shut up. When I’m in that state, I usually have a “filter” (I talk a lot but usually don’t say inappropriate things); some people with BPD don’t have that filter. Maybe Stephen was having a no-holds-barred-manic-day; or he was being exceedingly ironic or both.
    Forgive him his trespasses for now.

  18. H says:

    The other reason women don’t hump everything that moves it that unlike men we can end up pregnant. It is easy to have sex “whenever” when you don’t have to worry about that.

  19. Glyrics says:

    Ugg Look at him! If I were a gay guy and he cruised me (without knowing who he is, which the only way he gets action), he would scare me straight!

  20. Sarah says:

    People take things WAY too seriously. Lighten the f*ck up people.

  21. KellyBrynn says:

    if anything, it’s as equally offensive to men as it is to women. men are uncontrollable sex animals, women are frigid bitches unless they’re prostitutes (virgin/whore dichotomy).

    but it’s not something i haven’t heard a million times before, and unfortunately i’ll probably hear some version of this the rest of my life.

  22. Janine says:

    I love Stephen Fry, and I totally get the way he would have said this. He’s basically being self-effacing about his fellow man, in a tongue-in-cheek, very British fashion. Like Stephen Colbert, he is a master of satire.

    I find it a bit of a double standard that he can’t say women don’t enjoy sex as much as men, but you can say that men are animals with no standards.

    Thoughtless, antiquated generalisations like that don’t help either sex, but then again it’s hardly worth getting the pitchforks out for either.

  23. KateNonymous says:

    I think he thinks he was joking (partly), but I also think he’s using humor to express what he thinks–and in doing so, he’s leaving out a lot of societal issues on all sides.

    While I haven’t followed his actions that closely, I don’t think it’s the first time he’s stormed off in a huff like this.

  24. Mairead says:

    To be fair, Stephen regularly quits Twitter.

    He is actually a remarkable man, but one that suffers terribly from depression (old fashioned manic depression), so he has regularly Tweeted madness and very soon afterwards quit. It’s a shame as his tweets are usually very insightful. But I assume he’s having an “episode”, which is terribly sad.

    (and if you haven’t seen him in “A Bit of Fry & Laurie”, “V for Vandetta” and the brilliant “Peter’s Friends” (Emma Thompson’s line “Fill me with your little babies” is one of the funniest in cinema history imo), then you’re really missing out. He currently hosts Qi, a very brainy quiz show indeed)

  25. Jax says:

    It never stops to surprise me having women defend or brush off statements like this.

    Do you consider this statement of his also okay:

    “If women needed sex as much as men did then – duck, Ted, duck, run for cover – then there wouldn’t be so many rapists around the place.”

    Yes, apperently it’s women’s fault when they get raped.

    The quote above is from his novel “The Hippopotamus”.

  26. Jeri says:

    Compared to Mel and Charlie this hardly deserves a frown. This is more humorous in contex (I think).

  27. Janine says:

    @ Mairead, don’t forget Jeeves & Wooster! Another classic (before my time) that I’ve come to enjoy through reruns.

  28. trollydolly says:

    He’s a bumbling English upper middle class all male boarding school educated gay man.
    Yep his opinion about women’s sexuality really carries some weight alright.

  29. anti says:

    loved him in “jeeves and wooster”!

  30. Henriette says:

    What if he were commenting on the sex lives of Jews or African Americans in the same way? Wouldn’t you find it offensive? Why is it okay to make those kinds of statements about women?

  31. bros says:

    god we have become so oversensitive. he is a comedian and satirist. its his job to give provocative interviews. it turns me off when we go sniffing everywhere for misogyny and ignore the big institutionalized expressions of it. I wonder if all the people complaining about this will go vote tomorrow?

  32. Nudgie says:

    He was partially correct.

    He was partially wrong.


  33. gloaming says:

    General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett might say things like that, but I don’t believe Stephen Fry would.

  34. bereal says:

    I don’t really know who Stephen Fry is– or why people think he’s funny– I’m just glad he’s gay. He can hump all the dill he wants to at the park.

  35. Melissa says:

    I buy some of the things he’s saying, and others are just pure garbage. I truly think that GENERALLY, men want sex more than women – not true for each individual, but as a generality, yes. How you leap from that to women not liking sex and being disgusted by men I don’t understand.

  36. chasingadalia says:

    @ #26/Jax

    Actually, that’s the exact opposite of what he’s saying.

  37. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    But The Hippopotamus is a novel, not an autobiography. I’m not really sure how positing that men are more animalistic than females and that ‘standards’ are why women don’t sleep around as much dispels the idea that women won’t sleep with a man if a set of critera or provisos aren’t met. Isn’t that the same thing, just with a sour moral imperative attached? How can you get mad when you’re basically subscribing to the same belief?
    I don’t know the context, but sometimes before getting worked up, we truly do have to consider the source. Fry’s not a humourless guy, and who knows, maybe he is having an episode. If that’s true, well I’m BP-I, and sometimes the only thing that can get you to shut up is lithium. I don’t know about the spirit in which the statments are met (though he’s hugely self-effacing, lacerating, even), but I’m just not moved to call Gloria Alred on this one. I’m also tired of the second-most overused word in English (after ‘douche’ and its various permutations): misogyny. If you’re offended by this interview fine–still not misogyny. Misogyny and sexism aren’t the same thing and

    I’ve got to wonder what’s so attractive about putting oneself in the role of embattled victim all of the time? Do men come off any better in this interview? No. And he is talking about both sexes here, it’s not always about men hate us, forever and ever, Amen, he’s talking about both sexes here. Is this just a acid-tipped re-statement of one of the core beliefs, or at least teachings of western civilization? Yeah. Does he subscribe to these beliefs? Judging by his vociferous disavowal of the interview which he claims misinterpreted him, one would think not–at least, not entirely, but that’s always a nebulous region. I’m just wondering when someone’s going to throw out the term ‘pedophilia’ just to keep the train going.

    Straight women don’t lack crusing scenes because we’re innately better than men, it’s because we don’t need to do it. There are myriad reason as to a straight woman could be unhappily single, but I don’t think that ‘I don’t know of any places where I can meet a straight man safely’ is number one on that list for every single lady within North American or European cultures. I’m a female, minority and didn’t come from money, so I’ve got my own list of disadvantages, but I’m pretty sure I’m never going to get ‘straight bashed’, you see?

  38. Taylor says:

    I love Stephen Fry. And given his wit (dry and enormously self-effacing, as many people have mentioned) I wouldn’t be surprised if the context (article versus interview) is all off.

    Also, I can’t see Emma Thompson staying good friends with him for years if he were truly a misogynist.

  39. guilty pleasures says:

    My, my, my,aren’t we the judgemental prudes?
    When did humour, satire in this case, become so offensive? He is not wrong, he may be exaggerating for effect, but not wrong.
    Biology directs male animals to spread their seed far and wide, to impregnate as many female animals as they can, while the biological imperative for the female is to seek the strongest male to mate with, then to protect the progeny through to young adulthood.
    I won’t bore you with more (such as the normalcy of being gay), but we are really not so far removed from that single, solitary purpose, we just dress up our lives with indoor carpet.
    Grow up, let people be funny, ease up on the vitriole for thoughts that harm no one.

  40. ! says:

    Thoughts that harm no one? As someone who directly has to deal with the harmful effects of misogyny, and the “jokes” that perpetuate it, eff off. You can go straight to hell.

  41. wunderkindt says:

    Fry seems jealous of straight women because they have some of the men he wishes he could have.

    Thought: Maybe Fry very badly wanted a man who-much to his chagrin-turned out to be straight!

    That could be the reason for his apparent resentment towards straight women. . . .Poor Steven!

  42. bitca says:

    He was talking out of his a** (sorry), but otherwise, can’t really care. Stephen Fry was golden in Blackadder, one of the greatest TV series ever. Most folks know he’s not super-stable, & put up with him like an occasionally embarrassing-but-beloved-great-uncle. But I am glad he ceased Tweeting. Twitter is evil.

  43. A~ says:

    Jo (#37) — you say that you’re pretty sure you’re never going to get “straight bashed” — but, sadly, there is a 1 in 4 chance that you will get straight bashed. It’s called rape.

  44. yourmomma says:

    fry seems to ignore and hasnt done any research on the sociological constructions of men and women in society-or at least he seems to be willfully ignorant of “slut shaming”. women dont go around cruising because even in this day and age womens sexuality is still regulated to an extent.

  45. tuscan sun says:

    This is simply biologically incorrect. Women have orgasms. We’re obviously enjoying the sex and enjoying men’s bodies to the point where we climax in a state of physical ecstasy and then pass out. They’re called orgasms. Women have them, too. Not only that, but we’re multi-orgasmic. We can have three orgasms to every man’s one. Who’s having more fun in the sack?

  46. Shay says:

    I’ve had enough with celebrity tweets. They all tend to bring out the worst in celebrities. Celebrities have supersized egos as it is, and magazine interviews tend to maintain a balance, then celebrities have to screw themselves by using Twitter.
    Fry, along with other egocentric celebrities (he sells himself as a huge intellect on shows like his QI, when there is always someone telling him what to say via an earpiece), have outlandish egos, that is why they need their managers to tell them to rein it in. To me, what he said, is no real surprise when it’s coming from an aging ‘queen’. I’ve had the misfortune of experiencing some misogynist gay men in my life, and yes they do exist. The last thing women need is yet another Karl Lagerfeld, albeit a cheap imitation in Fry!

  47. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    Yes, sadly, and I escaped one by the skin of my teeth in my late teens, but that wasn’t the comparison I was trying to make. Rape is an act of violence towards someone’s sex, whereas gay bashing is an act of violence towards someone’s sexuality.

  48. Sio says:

    #43, it’s also called rape when it happens to gay women. _Rape_ is not bashing someone for their sexual orientation, thank you very much.

    #45, orgasms are caused by the stimulation of specific points in the body, and just because they occur doesn’t mean that the act was consensual _or_ that the woman enjoyed it. Women have been known to experience orgasms while being raped, after all.

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