Laurence Fox defends saying ‘a lot of unfortunate things'
Laurence Fox has said he has received death threats over the past week following the “unfortunate things” he has said about racism, but that he has to right to express his opinions.
The actor sparked controversy last week when he questioned whether the Duchess of Sussex had faced discrimination during an appearance on Question Time.
He has since gone on to say that he thinks “woke” people are “racist”, and that the appearance of a Sikh soldier in the war movie 1917 is distracting for the audience.
Fox, 41, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that he has had a “small bout of, hopefully, temporary insomnia”, since his appearance on Question Time, where he told an audience member that the racism argument around Meghan is “starting to get boring now”.
He told GMB: “I’ve had death threats and I have got children. I’ve had death threats, and it’s not pleasant.”
He said he believes he has been targeted because “when you don’t have an argument your rage starts to increase, doesn’t it?”
“What I said on Question Time, I 100% stand behind. I said what I felt and I continue to believe it.”
Fox said that it is “important that we seek out incidents of racism and we join together, all of us, to condemn those but what we don’t do is see colour everywhere”, adding that it is “very divisive”.
“In that incident on Question Time she (an audience member) was the one who brought up colour of skin, and I had no interest in it.”
GMB hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid queried comments made by Fox about the inclusion of Nabhaan Rizwan as a Sikh soldier in Sir Sam Mendes’ Oscar-nominated film 1917.
Fox told The Delingpod podcast that there is a “very heightened awareness of the colour of someone’s skin because of the oddness in the casting”, adding: “Even in 1917 they’ve done it with a Sikh soldier.
“Which is great, it’s brilliant, but you’re suddenly aware there were Sikhs fighting in this war. And you’re like ‘OK’. You’re now diverting me away from what the story is.”
Morgan told Fox: “Of all the things you’ve said in the last two weeks, I’ve been cheering you on right to that point, then I didn’t really get what you were getting at… It felt to me like an unfortunate thing to have said.”
Fox said: “As you have noticed, I say quite a lot of unfortunate things. But I think it’s really important that one is able to express one’s opinion.
“People should not be terrified to say what we feel.”
He added: “I think there were a lot of soldiers from the former empire fighting in World War One.
“I suppose it would have been less incongruous to me if he had got on the truck to a whole regiment of Sikh soldiers.”
“I don’t think (the film is) institutionally racist. I’m saying probably more Sikhs would have been less… it feels sort of like, with just one Sikh soldier there, you say, ‘Oh did Sikh soldiers serve with English soldiers?’
“I’m not a historian so I don’t know, but it just felt incongruous.”
Fox said “we will have to wait and see” when asked if he thinks his career will be affected by his recent comments.
“But does one want to work in a career where you have to have the right opinions? I don’t. I don’t think art is going to be improved if everyone has exactly the same opinion.”
Fox is best known for starring in TV drama series Lewis, which ended in 2015, and he was previously married to singer and actress Billie Piper.