ENTERTAINMENT
13/03/2020 10:53 GMT | Updated 13/03/2020 11:44 GMT

Laurence Fox And Actors' Union Equity 'Reach Out-Of-Court-Settlement' After 'Disgrace' Tweet

A Twitter post calling the Lewis actor a "disgrace to our industry" was sent following his appearance on Question Time in January.

Laurence Fox has received an apology from the actors’ union Equity, after they branded him a “disgrace” on Twitter.

He and Equity are also reported to have “agreed an out-of-court settlement” relating to the matter.

Back in January, Laurence made a much-derided appearance on BBC’s Question Time, in which he defended the media’s treatment of Meghan Markle, insisting the UK is a “lovely, tolerant country”, and told an audience member that calling him a “privileged, white male” was “racist”.

Following this, a post on Equity’s Minority Ethnic Members Committee (as they were then known) referred to the former Lewis star as a “disgrace to our industry”, for which they have now apologised.

In a statement, they said: “We are sorry that in the tweets he was called a ‘disgrace’ by Equity.

“It was a mistake for Equity as an organisation to criticise him in this way.

“Nothing in Equity’s later statement was intended as a slur on his character or views, or to suggest that he should be denied the ability to work. We would like to make that clear.

“Equity and Laurence Fox condemn prejudice unequivocally in all its forms.”

BBC
Laurence Fox rolling his eyes during his infamous Question Time appearance

A “source close to [Laurence Fox]” has also told the Press Assocation that he and Equity have agreed on an “out-of-court settlement”.

“Equity have finally apologised and agreed an out-of-court settlement with Laurence after calls for him to be ‘unequivocally denounced’ by the Equity Minority Members’ Committee,” they said.

“He is pleased and grateful to Equity for this decision. He looks forward now to moving on in his professional and personal life after what has been a very difficult period for him and his family.”

Shortly after Equity’s post, the union’s Race Equality Committee announced they felt they had “no choice but to resign as committee members”.

Posting on Twitter for the first time in three weeks, Laurence said he hoped the matter might serve as “an opportunity for us to continue to celebrate diversity in all its forms”, adding: “Including diversity of opinion.”

Last month, Laurence posted a lengthy statement, explaining that he’d made the decision to quit social media as he was “fearing for his future”.

He wrote: “Since my appearance on question time and the ensuing hubbub, I have had nothing but support on the street, from people of all backgrounds and political view points. In the weird and lonely days that followed that appearance, your kind words have lifted my spirits. Thank you.

“But privately I have been becoming more and more depressed. I have been so shocked by some of the things said to me on these platforms and I have found some of it very hard to process. I think it’s important to stand up to bullies and that is why I have continued to do so.

“But I find that I wake up in dread of what’s to come. I’m a fairly private if opinionated person and it’s been very painful and difficult to cope with. However I also believe passionately in free speech.”

David M. Benett via Getty Images
Laurence Fox at an event in January, shortly before his Question Time appearance

He continued: “I stand wholeheartedly by people’s right to express themselves. But I am fearing for my future and my ability to provide financially for my children. A thought that has kept me awake most nights. People tell me it will blow over, but when you are in it, it doesn’t feel like it will.

“I expressed an opinion, which I stand by and I don’t believe is controversial. As a result Equity UK called (amongst other things) for actors to denounce me. This has been very hard to deal with, given that members weren’t polled before these tweets were sent out...

“I love my job. I am so blessed to have been fortunate enough to make a career out of it and I have met some of the best people and made such great friends whilst working as an actor. The thought of that being taken away saddens me more than I can say.”