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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Chief Executive

£28, 700: Whiskey Whiskey Tango: Property Management Company is seeking a brig...

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style