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Mental health charity distances itself from president Stephen Fry’s sex abuse comments

Nick Duffy April 13, 2016
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Mental health charity Mind has disavowed comments made by its President Stephen Fry – after he told sexual abuse survivors to ‘grow up’ and stop ‘self-pitying’.

The actor, comedian and former QI host made the comments in a controversial interview with US TV host Dave Rubin, which was initially a broad discussion about free speech and the culture of “censorship”.

Mr Fry shifted the discussion to victims of sexual abuse, saying: “There are many great plays which contain rapes, and the word rape now is even considered a rape.

“If you say you can’t watch this play [because] it might trigger something when you were young that upset you once, because your uncle touched you in a nasty place, well… I’m sorry.

“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.

“Self pity is the ugliest emotion in humanity. 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.”

Mind, the mental health charity which Mr Fry has been President of since 2012, has now released a statement disavowing the comments.

A statement said: “Abuse is incredibly serious and can have devastating consequences for survivors, particularly for their life-long mental health. We would urge anyone who has experienced abuse of any kind to reach out and seek support.

“We understand why some people may have been upset by Stephen Fry’s remarks in a recent American TV interview. Stephen was speaking in a personal context, giving his own views as part of a longer discussion on the subject of freedom of speech.

“As President of Mind, Stephen Fry has done a huge amount to raise awareness and understanding about bipolar disorder and other mental health problems.

“He has supported Mind in our campaigning activities over the last decade and has helped enormously to change public attitudes in the UK about mental health for the better.

“We will be speaking to Stephen to discuss the concerns our supporters have raised.”

Related topics: abuse, comedian, Gay, Sex, Stephen Fry

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