Delivering a speech before a screening of the first episode at the Sydney premiere, Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany recalled how he was initially bemused when he first started watching Game Of Thrones.
“I was like, ‘What’s this show with the dumpy-looking girl who walks into the flames?’” he said, referring to Emilia’s lead character Daenerys.
However, his rude comment fell flat with the audience, which was mostly made up of Australian media.
One attendee told Australian news outlet Crikey that “it felt like he was expecting us to laugh along but people in the room were obviously shocked by it.”
Another said: “There was a bit of a gasp.”
A spokesperson for Foxtel Group later apologised and attempted to clarify the remark, saying it was “meant to be self-deprecating and light-hearted.”
“The aim was to convey that for him, Games of Thrones was something very different for television in 2011 and that Emilia Clarke went from relatively unknown to one of the most recognised and most-loved actors in television and film,” they said.
“On behalf of Mr Delany, the Foxtel Group apologies if his remarks were misunderstood and caused any offense.”
In Australia, Foxtel is home to Game Of Thrones and its long-awaited prequel.
Emilia – who played queen Daenerys Targaryen in the hugely successful Game Of Thrones – is not involved in House Of The Dragon.
The British actor has not responded to Patrick Delany’s comments.
Set two centuries before the events of Game Of Thrones, the prequel introduces a host of new characters vying for the iconic iron throne, with the cast including Matt Smith, Paddy Considine, Emma D’Arcy and Steve Toussaint.
House Of The Dragon will be available to watch on Sky and Now from Monday 22 August.
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