Fry ‘criticises Operation Yewtree in dinner party rant’ calling for tougher laws to deter false sex abuse allegations

Comedian gave speech while hosting Labour fundraiser after his friend was arrested as part of investigation but never charged

Stephen Fry has reportedly criticised the historic sex abuse investigation Operation Yewtree, after a friend of his was arrested as part of the probe but never charged.

Speaking at a Labour fundraising gala last week, the actor and comedian delivered an impassioned speech about the “essential values the [party] stands for”, including that “people are innocent until proven guilty”.

There had previously been doubts over whether Fry would attend the event at the Roundhouse in London at all, following a dispute over the party’s treatment of the 65-year-old DJ Paul Gambaccini.

Gambaccini was arrested as part of Operation Yewtree in October, released on bail and has not been charged. But the avalanche of publicity surrounding the arrest apparently saw the long-term Labour supporter refused an invite for a previous fundraising event.

In his address as host on Wednesday, Fry reportedly complained that “fewer than half” of the people held under the ongoing police investigation had been found guilty.

Gambaccini has denied all the allegations made against him Gambaccini has denied all the allegations made against him And according to one guest quoted in the Mail on Sunday, Fry pointed out the Labour supporter and former Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Keir Starmer in the audience before embarking on a “rant” calling for tougher laws to discourage people from inventing false claims.

The reaction from guests at the dinner, where tables of nine cost up to £15,000, was reportedly one of “deadly silence” – including from the Labour leader, Ed Miliband.

And a spokesperson for Mr Miliband later made clear to the newspaper that Fry did not speak for the room as a whole. He said: “Ed Miliband fully supports the work of Operation Yewtree and has made clear all along that our thoughts should be with the victims.”

He nonetheless thanked the 56-year-old comedian for hosting the “hugely successful event”.

A source close to Mr Starmer was quoted by the Mail as saying Fry “went off on one”, and said there were already laws in place to deter “faked accusations” of sexual abuse.

A representative for Fry was not immediately available for comment when approached by The Independent.

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