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Stephen Fry quits Twitter after backlash over ‘bag lady’ joke

Stephen Fry appears to have quit Twitter following a backlash over one of his BAFTA jokes.

The comedian, writer and presenter – and one of the first big-name Twitter users in the UK – hosted last night’s BAFTA ceremony, and came under fire for one of his jibes. He said costume designer Jenny Beavan – winner of the award for Costume Design for her work on Mad Max: Fury Road – had come “dressed like a bag lady.”

Twitter was in uproar, with many users demanding Fry apologise for the joke. However, he replied that Beavan was “a dear friend” who had “got the joke”. He also replied rather more angrily: “Will all you sanctimonious fuckers fuck the fuck off Jenny Beavan is a friend and joshing is legitimate. Christ I want to leave the planet.”

He also posted a picture of him with Beavan at an after-show party, with the caption: “Jenny Baglady Beavan and Stephen Outrageous Misogynist Swine Fry at the #EEBAFTAs after party.”

Comedians and media personalities defended Fry. David Baddiel tweeted: “Outrage confers identity on the anonymous, unfortunately. it’s the curse of here. Well done tonight, grand job.”

Matt Lucas added: “Didn’t you get the memo? No-one is allowed to do jokes anymore.”

Read more: Twitter tweaks timeline to show ‘best tweets’ first

And writer Andrew Collins: “I had no inside information but it was obvious to me that Stephen Fry knew Jenny Beavan well enough to make that joke at the BAFTAs. Come on!”

Fry is one of the UK’s biggest Twitter users, with over 12 million followers. He has temporarily left the service before. Last year, he left from February until May without giving any reason. In 2014, he said it wasn’t safe to tweet from where he was filming. And in 2009, he threatened to leave, saying there was “too much aggression and unkindness around.”

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