Actor, author and broadcaster Stephen Fry has used his Twitter account to condemn The Observer newspaper for portraying him as “the Antichrist” in relation to comments he made to the gay magazine Attitude. In an interview, Fry is reported to have said he feels sorry for straight men because women only want sex in order to have a relationship.
The interview also quotes him as saying “If women liked sex as much as men, there would be straight cruising areas in the way there are gay cruising areas.”
He is reported to have added: “I feel sorry for straight men. The only reason women will have sex with them is that sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship with a man, which is what they want. They want a boyfriend and then they want commitment.
“Of course a lot of women will deny this and say, ‘Oh, no, but I love sex, I love it!’ But do they go around having it the way that gay men do?
“Gay men are the perfect acid test. If they want to get their rocks off, they go into a park where they know they can do it.”
An article about the interview, published in today’s Observer contains condemnation for Fry’s alleged quotations from among others the feminist journalist Rosie Boycott. She described Fry’s claims as “kind of rubbish. Women are just as capable as men are of enjoying sex. We don’t go cruising or cottaging on Hampstead Heath because we don’t need to. Cottaging on Hampstead Heath is presumably a hangover from the days when, sadly, [homosexuality] was illegal… Women have other ways to get our thrills, and we can go and get them in bars or clubs. Having said which, we probably also do it in parks sometimes too. It’s just that we don’t call it cottaging. I’m sure I’ve done it in parks in my time.”
Susie Orbach, the feminist psychotherapist told the newspaper: “I’m really intrigued by his notion that men’s sexuality is disgusting in some way. Why would he believe that women could be so disgusted by men? Does he think there is something disgusting about sex?”
The Attitude interview with Fry has not been published online so both The Observer and Fry himself link to a PinkNews.co.uk article about the interview. In a Twitter posting, Fry said: “So some fucking paper misquotes a humorous interview I gave, which itself misquoted me and now I’m the Antichrist. I give up.”
An Observer spokesperson said: “We have faithfully and fairly reproduced Stephen Fry’s quotes in his interview with Attitude magazine. It fully and accurately reflects the opinions he expressed. He has no grounds for complaint against this newspaper.”
Attitude editor, Matthew Todd told The Guardian website: “It was just a comment within a conversation about male sexuality, the kind that people have in pubs up and down the country, when people often straight men and women will assert the idea that gay men find it easier to find casual partners than straight people do. I’d be rich if I had £1 for every time a straight bloke has said they wished they could have casual sex as easily as (they presume) gay men do. Stephen Fry wasn’t making any judgement about that, or saying it was a good or a bad thing, he was just pondering why that may be. It sounds harsh taken out of a long interview in which he talked about a multitude of other things.”