Stephen Fry has apologised “unreservedly” for his recent comments about sexual abuse survivors, after he suggested on an American TV show that victims should stop wallowing in “self-pity” and “grow up”.

The 58 year old British comedian and presenter was speaking on US show ‘The Rubin Report’ this week, and made the original comments in the context of an interview about ‘trigger warnings’, free speech and censorship of art and literature at universities. He was met with a fierce backlash online after he accused those who insisted on such content warnings of being too sensitive.

Stephen FryStephen Fry has apologised for his recent comments about trigger warnings and child sex abuse survivors

“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,” he told presenter Dave Rubin.

“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.”

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Fry is also the president of the mental health charity MIND, and many argued that his comments were particularly insensitive in light of the position he holds. In light of an open letter written by abuse survivor, Tracy Merrett, in ‘The New Day’, in which she criticised Fry’s “heartless and glib” remarks, the ‘QI’ presenter was moved to apologise.

“It distresses me greatly to think that I have upset anyone in the course of the TV interview I had with David Rubin the other week,” he said in a statement on Wednesday evening (April 13th). “I of course apologise unreservedly for hurting feelings the way I did. That was never my purpose.”

“There are few experiences more terrible, traumatic and horrifying than rape and abuse and if I gave the impression that I belittled those crimes and the effects they have on their victims then I am so so sorry. It seems I must have utterly failed to get across what I was actually trying to say and instead offended and upset people who didn’t deserve to be offended or upset.”

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