Actors' union apologises to Laurence Fox for calling him a 'disgrace'
Actors’ union Equity has apologised to Laurence Fox after calling him a “disgrace” following his appearance on Question Time.
The comment was made in a series of tweets in January after the former Lewis star discussed the media’s treatment of the Duchess of Sussex.
It is understood the union has also agreed an out-of-court settlement with Fox, who was previously married to Billie Piper.
Equity’s apology sparked conflict within the organisation, with its entire race equality committee resigning.
During the episode of Question Time, Fox hit back at an audience member who claimed the press treatment of Meghan amounted to “racism”.
“It’s not racism,” he said. “We’re the most tolerant, lovely country in Europe.
“It’s so easy to throw the charge of racism and it’s really starting to get boring now.”
The audience member then described Fox as a “white, privileged male”, to which he responded: “To call me a white, privileged male is to be racist.”
The episode received more than 250 complaints and sparked a social media backlash, which Fox called “water off a duck’s back”.
But he later said he had received death threats and had suffered from “temporary insomnia” after his appearance.
The tweets calling Fox a “disgrace” were posted by Equity’s minority ethnic members’ committee (renamed the race equality committee).
Fox had complained on social media that “Equity called (amongst other things) for actors to denounce me”, saying it had “been very hard to deal with”.
He later hit out at black and working-class actors for complaining about the industry once they have “five million quid in the bank”, before saying he was signing off Twitter because “I have to turn this noise off for a while”.
On Friday, the union tweeted an apology for the “disgrace” tweets, saying it was a “mistake for Equity as an organisation to criticise him in this way”.
“Nothing in Equity’s later statement was intended as a slur on his character or views, or to suggest that he should be denied the ability to work,” it said.
“We would like to make that clear.
“Equity and Laurence Fox condemn prejudice unequivocally in all its forms.”
Fox pinned the statement in a tweet and added a “thank you” emoji and later said: “Hopefully this might (be) an opportunity for us to continue to celebrate diversity in all its forms. Including diversity of opinion.”
Daniel York Loh, chairman of Equity’s race equality committee, was among those to resign over the apology, saying that it was “not in my name”.
In a post, he wrote: “Equity and Laurence Fox can issue as many joint statements and apologies as they like.
“It’s nothing to do with me and I apologise for nothing #NotInMyName.”
The committee said that “all members of Equity’s recently renamed race equality committee feel we have no choice but to resign as committee members”.