Mental health charity Mind responds to Stephen Fry's comments about 'self-pitying' child abuse victims
'QI' host has been critical of 'infantile' culture of trigger words and safe spaces
Getty Luke Morgan Britton, 13th April 2016 A statement has been released by mental health charity Mind following controversial comments made by Stephen Fry about child abuse victims.
The former QI host spoke about the culture of political correctness in the UK while appearing on US show The Rubin Report. During the discussion, Fry told sex abuse victims to stop feeling sorry for themselves.
In response, Mind – a charity of which Fry is a honorary President – has released a statement saying: "Abuse is incredibly serious and can have devastating consequences for survivors, particularly for their life-long mental health. We would urge anyone who has experienced abuse of any kind to reach out and seek support."
"We understand why some people may have been upset by Stephen Fry’s remarks in a recent American TV interview. Stephen was speaking in a personal context, giving his own views as part of a longer discussion on the subject of freedom of speech."
"As President of Mind, Stephen Fry has done a huge amount to raise awareness and understanding about bipolar disorder and other mental health problems. He has supported Mind in our campaigning activities over the last decade and has helped enormously to change public attitudes in the UK about mental health for the better."
"We will be speaking to Stephen to discuss the concerns our supporters have raised," the charity added.
Fry's conversation on the US show started off on the subject of Oxford University and students' attempt to get the divisive Cecil Rhodes statue removed, soon gave way to Fry's more general views on censorship.
"There are many great plays which contain rapes, and the word rape now is even considered a rape," Fry said in reference to art being perceived differently by different generations.
“They’re terrible things and they have to be thought about, clearly, but if you say you can’t watch this play, you can’t watch Titus Andronicus, or you can’t read it in a Shakespeare class, or you can’t read Macbeth because it’s got children being killed in it, it might trigger something when you were young that upset you once, because uncle touched you in a nasty place, well I’m sorry.
“It’s a great shame and we’re all very sorry that your uncle touched you in that nasty place – you get some of my sympathy – but your self pity gets none of my sympathy because self pity is the ugliest emotion in humanity.
"Get rid of it, because no one’s going to like you if you feel sorry for yourself. The irony is we’ll feel sorry for you, if you stop feeling sorry for yourself. Just grow up.”
The comments sparked backlash on social media, with users accusing Fry of lacking sympathy.
Fry quit Twitter earlier this year after saying the platform had become a "stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous".