From boycotts to bunting burning; the curious tale of former Lewis actor Laurence Fox and his politics
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Outspoken former actor-turned-political activist Laurence Fox, of the distinguished Fox family, has once again generated headlines for his ultra-conservative stance on liberal issues - in this case, the LGBTQIA+ flag. But it was a video he shot in June this year ahead of Pride Month that generated ridicule towards the one-time candidate for the London Mayor role.
Posting to social media, Fox hung a series of the Quasar Pride flags, established in 2018, attached to bunting in a back garden, and proceeded to set fire, or try and set fire, to them while denouncing what he felt was not the true spirit of Pride in correlation to the LGBTQIA+ movement’s purpose a number of years ago.
The leader of the Reclaim Party then went on to state that Pride Month was “the most holy month of child mutilation. This is what I think of your disgusting, vile, child-sacrificial flag. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye Pride, which isn't Pride. It's just a celebration of the mutilation of children. And you can shove it.”
He released a follow-up video to give further details about his denouncement of both the Quasar Pride flag and the month of Pride itself. “That flag, the Progressive [sic] Pride flag, is nothing to do with the original Pride flag which was to represent hard fought for gay and lesbian rights, which everybody would support. And also in this country, we have a flag that unites everyone - gay, straight, lesbian, white, black, yellow, red, green, thin and fat. It's called the Union Jack and it represents us all, and it represents secular liberal democracy.
'What that cult flag represents is the mutilation of healthy children's tissues and convincing them of a lie which is a boy can become a girl and a girl can become a boy. That is the foundation of language – the difference between man and woman. Now the woke Left may want to try and mess with these terms, but sane people know that girls can't become boys and boys can't become girls, and sane people find it abhorrent that a doctor or anyone or a parent would allow their child to be mutilated in any way.”
“So you can carry on attacking me all you like. It makes zero difference to me because I live in the truth. So if you've got a problem with me burning a flag which celebrates the mutilation of children, then maybe you have a problem yourself.”
This isn’t the only incident regarding the Pride flag and himself; in July 2020, Fox tweeted an image of a swastika made from the LGBTQ+ Progress Pride flag with the caption, "You can openly call the [Union Jack] a symbol of fa[s]cism and totalitarianism on Tw*tter. You cannot criticise the holy flags." This led to him being suspended from Twitter for a day and publicly condemned by both the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and the Campaign Against Antisemitism.
A series of unfortunate political events; Laurence Fox in the political sphere
The one time Mr. Billie Piper looks to have eschewed his acting career for that in the political domain, and since his divorce from the former Dr. Who actress, seems to have had any and all filters with his political ideologies all but removed. He has been a vocal critic of what he perceives as "woke culture" and "political correctness, expressing his belief that these societal trends have gone too far and criticising the impact they have on freedom of expression (akin to one Jordan Peterson.)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fox drew controversy by frequently criticising the British government's response to the crisis and encouraged people to break social distancing rules and disobey public health restrictions. His comments about the National Health Service (NHS) not being fit for purpose if it couldn't cope with the pandemic received widespread condemnation. Fox also participated in an anti-lockdown protest and faced police visits related to alleged rule-breaking during his election campaign, although no action was taken.
On the BBC's Question Time in January 2020, he controversially stated that Meghan Markle was not a victim of racism, and he called an audience member who referred to him as a "white privileged male" racist. This despite the fact that he comes from the Fox acting dynasty, which may have some critics calling him a “nepo baby.”
Regardless, these remarks drew criticism, with the actors' union Equity initially denouncing him but later retracting their criticism and apologising. Fox also made comments the very same month about the depiction of a Sikh soldier in the film ‘1917’, referring to it as "forced diversity," which caused further controversy. He later apologised for his remarks, acknowledging their clumsiness and expressing respect for the sacrifices made by soldiers of different backgrounds.
Then once again in 2020, October this time, there was the cause celebre regarding Sainsbury’s and accusations that it supported racial segregation and discrimination. Sainsbury's establishment of safe spaces for black employees, which were actually online support groups created in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and promoted as part of support for Black History Month, were misinterpreted by Fox. This led to his very public declaration that he would be boycotting the supermarket.
Feeling unfairly labelled as a racist, Fox responded to tweets reacting to his announcement by calling the authors of said tweets paedophiles. Two individuals, Crystal from RuPaul's Drag Race UK and Simon Blake, deputy chair of the LGBT rights charity Stonewall, announced their intention to sue Fox for defamation. Fox eventually deleted the tweets and explained that he wanted to teach people a lesson about making false accusations - at least, that was the line he was continuing to toe.
In April 2021, Crystal, Blake, and actress Nicola Thorp, whom Fox also accused of being a paedophile, filed a defamation claim in the High Court against Fox. In response, Fox countersued over the accusations of racism. In April 2022, Fox requested a jury trial, arguing that a judge could show involuntary bias.
This request resulted in legal fees exceeding £116,000. However, in May 2022, the request for a jury trial was refused. Later that month, the High Court ruled that Fox must pay over £36,000 in legal fees to Crystal, Blake, and Thorp.
But it has been his recent comments about the LGBTQIA+ community that have seen him both praised by supporters of the Reclaim Party and himself as one of the last bastions of “free speech” and denounced by many more for what has been touted as homophobic and transphobic comments - which was at one stage platformed on his GB News show but is now suspended alongside Fox himself over comments about journalist Ava Evans.