Daily Mail enlists a theologian to attack Stephen Fry. Fry hits back with a vengeance.

Daily Mail enlists a theologian to attack Stephen Fry. Fry hits back with a vengeance.

CONSERVATIVE academic and theologian Adrian Hilton was recruited to write a “hate piece” in the Daily Mail lambasting Fry’s call for the relocating of the Winter Olympics away from Sochi in Russia because of the country’s recently enacted anti-gay legislation.

Fry immediately hit back, accusing Mail editor Paul Dacre of being a “frothing autocrat” … and much, MUCH more besides.

Fry had written an “Open Letter” to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, calling for the Games to be held elsewhere after Russia passed laws cracking down on “gay propaganda”.

He accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of:

Making scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did Jews.

Cameron later rejected the call, saying he favoured British athletes attending the Games.

I believe we can better challenge prejudice as we attend, rather than boycotting the Winter Olympics.

Hilton wrote:

I don’t want to dwell on Fry’s association of the 2014 Sochi winter games with the 1936 Olympiad in Berlin: the systematic incineration of six million Jews in industrial ovens bears no comparison with the marginalisation and repression of minorities in Putin’s Russia.

Hilton accused the comedian of “grandstanding”, branding his call for a boycott:

A haughty and detached gesture which harms the innocent and penalises Russia’s outstanding sportsmen and women who will be deprived of their chance to inspire the very generation which might sweep Putin and his thugs from power.

And he accused Fry of hypocrisy for making no effort to condemn British association with Russian artistic projects in the ballet and theatre.

Fry embarked on a demolition job of his own. He likened Dacre’s politics to the pre-war appeasement of Hitler, comparing him to Mussolini.


Paul Dacre

He then rounded on the paper’s right-wing values, accusing the Mail of holding historically reactionary principles, or none at all.

The Mail still can’t quite live with the shame that it has always, always been historically wrong about everything – from Picasso to equal pay for women. It has always been against progress, the liberalising of attitudes, modern art and strangers (whether by race, gender or sexuality).

Deep down they have always had the same instinct for the lowest, most mean-spirited, hypocritical, spiteful and philistine elements of our island nation.

Fry then reminded readers of the Mail‘s infamous backing for Hilter in the 1930s.

He then delivered a personal swingeing attack on Dacre:

Dacre is … an absolutely foul-mouthed boss, who constantly screams the c word at just about anyone. He would have read my Open Letter to David Cameron and yelled that ‘that c**t Fry needs another f**king dressing f**king down’ – just the kind of language that his paper would prissily decry of course, there’s the glory in the vile bastard’s hypocrisy.

He [Dacre] sends his son to Eton, but mocks me for being posh. He bullies, swears and shrieks, but presents his paper as having the values and standards of a misty Midsomer Britain.

He decries indecency on one page and pushes his male readers into a semi over a semi-nude actress on another. His cancer scare, miracle cure stories are sickeningly anti-science and the only good thing to be said about his Mail is that no one decent or educated believes in it.

Fry concluded:

Dacre is, all those who have had the misfortune to work for him assure me, just about as loathsome, self-regarding, morally putrid, vengeful and disgusting a man as it possible to be.

His power is absolute. Cross him either in private or public and you will be assassinated by his sycophantic squad of columnist minions, all of them infected with his brand of repulsive hypocritical and gleeful spite, ready to vomit out a screed against the BBC or any other institution they hate.

He absolutely despises me and thinks I stand for everything that is wrong about Britain and I think exactly the same of him.

Here is the full text of Fry’s riposte.

NOTE: The photo we had on this page, taken from the Conservative Home website, has been removed at Hilton’s request. He says that, as “it has never been in the public domain”, we were in breach of copyright by publishing it without his permission.

65 responses to “Daily Mail enlists a theologian to attack Stephen Fry. Fry hits back with a vengeance.”

  1. Daz says:

    Adrian Hilton

    I’ve read your piece. I note the sneering way in which you mention Fry unleashing his army of twitter followers; “flooding the target of their ire with a tsunami of derision and displeasure. Invariably, their chosen victim is harassed into submission and bullied into issuing a grovelling apology, whether earnest or not.”

    You mention this in an opinion-piece on an extremely popular newspaper site, with a vast army of readers who, I assume, you hope to persuade to your own opinion.

    How very, erm, inconsistent of you. No, wait. There’s a better word. Means “pointing out others’ faults while ignoring the same faults in oneself.” Erm. Oh yes. “Hypocritical.”

    Please go jump in a lake. I dare say you can swim, but it might just wash off the stench of smug self-righteousness.

  2. Sam says:

    David, I read what both Fry and Hilton said and I still think Fry hit the mark. Fry used certain things as examples because they have more impact. Using homosexuals rather than Jews when talking about the mass murders committed by the Nazis would have been far less emotive as an example. I mean, the Jews were persecuted far much more (with a ratio of about 1:60) than homosexuals, yet if you pay attention to Fry’s acting work, he clearly is aware of this (see V for Vendetta).

    With the called boycott for the Winter Olympics is certainly not from his own field of writing and acting, it is probably a higher impact suggestion. Yes, considering the boycott of Russian culture in some ways would be appropriate since he does acting work (as well as writing as he made a note of). However, this does not grab the attention of people as much as the Olympics which have been used famously to advocate political ends with boycotts before.

    The fact is, what Fry says is true about the Daily Mail. The piece was probably commissioned to attack Fry, especially as the author has a nasty little rant at Fry:

    “This call for a ban represents no personal sacrifice at all to Fry himself; nor does it constitute any hardship for his fellow actors and artists.”

    Yet this is the same commentator that says that Fry calling for an artistic ban is useless because he’ll be ignored by hard-up actors and actresses. What is the point of that then?

  3. Broga says:

    Stephen Fry wrote his piece on The Mail with a bite, erudition and verve with which H.L. Mencken would have been satisfied. High and deserved praise.

  4. Mark L says:

    I’m a fan of Fry but it’s a pity that, by his own admission, he didn’t read the article. If he had done he might have answered the main point of it, which was to ask why he wasn’t calling for an artistic boycott as well as an Olympic one.

  5. Gloone says:

    If we’re going to be honest with ourselves, Fry’s response, at least the part of it reproduced here, is just an extended ad hominem.

  6. trevor peters says:

    Stop rewriting history and lets deal with whats taking place now. The slaughter has started when will it stop..wake up and be counted…stop trying to conserve.

  7. nick says:

    behind you 100% Mr fry xx

  8. Kevin Jackson says:

    The only positive thing you can say about this is at least they all have the freedom to speak their minds about each other!

  9. Angela_K says:

    Mr Hilton. “…flooding the target of their ire with a tsunami of derision and displeasure”

    The above is in fact an example of the modus operandi used by a religious cabal who ‘phone/email etc their fellow bigots to vent their spleen over anything that offends their preposterous beliefs; we have seen this recently with the equal marriage debate passing into law.

    However, where practical, I do agree we should boycott all things Russian.

  10. shaggy says:

    its called the mail for a reason , most of it ends up in the bin ……..

  11. LLio Davies says:

    The Daily Mail is a hypocritical,nasty and spiteful paper.END OF!

  12. Scrimge says:

    Yet again Mr Fry knocks and egotistical, self important, person who lacks the mental or emotional capiticity for any kind of real empathy for the those involved right out of the park go on son! PS Mr Hilton and Mr Cameron if we don’t take heed of the early signs and need to reach another holocaust before cold hearted or politicaly motivated people like yourself are forced to act, then as a human race we have learned nothing. Perhaps you both should leave these matters to the more evolved people of this planet; or despite our great advances we will always remain unenlightened and in the dark.

  13. Daz says:

    If we’re going to be honest with ourselves, Fry’s response, at least the part of it reproduced here, is just an extended ad hominem.

    Please learn the difference between an ad hominem and an insult.

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