UK

Stephen Fry Tells Newsnight The Difference Between Historical Drug And Sex Offences

02/10/2014 12:10 BST | Updated 02/10/2014 16:59 BST

Stephen Fry has been forced to explain the "huge moral difference" between historical drug and sex offences after revealing intimate details of his cocaine use in the 1980s.

Fry told Newsnight presenter Evan Davis that he didn't mind that critics of his new book, More Fool Me, had pointed out he had not been arrested for his past drug use, despite the authorities "going after" celebrities accused of historical sex abuse in the 80s.

The actor, writer and broadcaster reveals in his autobiography that he spent 'an enormous amount of money' on cocaine over a fifteen year period, including that he took the class A drug at Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament and BBC Television Centre.

“If people think I should be arrested for historical drug abuse, that’s fine," said Fry. "I’m the only person I hurt.”

“I personally see a huge moral difference between invading somebody’s physical space, raping them, groping them against their will having sex with them underage, and me feeding my face with stuff that did me harm.”

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Fry pointed out that stars such as Elton John and Mick Jagger, as well as politicians, had admitted using drugs and said “I just have this compulsion that I can’t get rid of, which is to tell the truth as I see it, as I remember it, and feel it ought to be told.”

He said the kind of people accused in the recent sex abuse cases could reflect guilt on the part of those who unwittingly enabled Jimmy Savile to abuse children.

“Jimmy Savile was clearly an absolutely monstrous depraved and repulsive piece of work, and the BBC and the police and society including the Conservative and other governments that supported him, and gave him keys to institutions, allowed him access to 10 Downing Street and palaces and all the rest of it, are so horrified by their own lack of judgement that they have turned on the same class of person, the disc jockey.

"Almost uniquely, disc jockeys and light comedians are the ones who have been accused," he continued.

"If you wanted to talk about rock stars, do we have to name the rock stars that we think almost certainly had sex with 14 year old children? But those 14 year old girls were so proud of it that they in their 50s would for a minute call themselves victims.”

stephen fry

Fry: "I'm the only person I hurt"

Fry also said that using the word "victim" for people who are alleged victims, before a case has come to court, was wrong.

He added: “I’ve never groped anybody as far as I know. But groping is not the same as penetrative rape. Things are nuanced, and it’s pretty grotesque to grope – especially an underage child who doesn’t know what’s happening to them – but it’s not as grotesque as raping them. The law has to be clear on that.”

“Everybody isn’t Jimmy Saville just because they may have patted somebody’s bottom.”

Fry implied he hadn't read reviews of his book, saying “I’ve no idea” when Davis told him it had mixed reviews.

The QI presenter said he didn't want to glamourise drug use in his writing, but “I’m very aware that for some it would seem that whatever I saw I’m glamorising it unless I tell lies.”