Police in Ireland are investigating Stephen Fry after a viewer claimed his outspoken comments about God on a TV show were blasphemous.
The actor and comedian could face a maximum penalty of a fine of 25,000 euros (£22,000) under Ireland's 2009 Defamation Act for branding the hypothetical creator an "utter maniac" for creating a world "so full of injustice and pain."
The Meaning of Life footage from 2015, in which Fry is quizzed by Irish TV presenter Gay Byrne, went viral after it was aired and has now been seen more than seven million times on YouTube.
Asked what he would say if he was confronted by God at the pearly gates of heaven, Fry replied: “I’d say, bone cancer in children? What’s that about?
“How dare you? How dare you create a world to which there is such misery that is not our fault. It’s not right, it’s utterly, utterly evil.
“Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain. That’s what I would say. ”
Mr Byrne’s second question, “And you think you are going to get in, like that?” only served to fuel his anger.
"But I wouldn't want to," Fry insisted. “I wouldn't want to get in on his terms. They are wrong.
"Now, if I died and it was Pluto, Hades, and if it was the 12 Greek gods then I would have more truck with it, because the Greeks didn’t pretend to not be human in their appetites, in their capriciousness, and in their unreasonableness… they didn’t present themselves as being all-seeing, all-wise, all-kind, all-beneficent, because the god that created this universe, if it was created by god, is quite clearly a maniac… utter maniac, totally selfish.
“We have to spend our life on our knees thanking him? What kind of god would do that?
"So, atheism isn’t not just about not believing there’s a God, but on the assumption there is one, what kind of God is he?”
Visibly taken aback by Fry’s answer, Mr Byrne said: “That sure is the longest answer to that question I ever got in this entire series.”
A spokesman for Mr Fry told The Daily Telegraph there was "nothing for us to say while this is under investigation."
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