Stephen Fry has apologised unreservedly for likening opponents of free speech on university campuses to "self-pitying" sexual abuse victims.
The 58-year-old actor faced a growing storm over his comments on US show The Rubin Report prompting survivors of abuse to demand an apology.
Fry said on Thursday: "There are few experiences more terrible, traumatic and horrifying than rape and abuse".
Fry told The New Day: "It distresses me greatly to think that I have upset anyone in the course of the TV interview I had with David Rubin the other week.
"I of course apologise unreservedly for hurting feelings the way I did. That was never my purpose.
"There are few experiences more terrible, traumatic and horrifying than rape and abuse and if I gave the impression that I belittled those crimes and the effects they have on their victims then I am so, so sorry.
"It seems I must have utterly failed to get across what I was actually trying to say and instead offended and upset people who didn’t deserve to be offended or upset."
During the controversial interview, Fry hinted at the reasons behind controversial decisions governing free speech on university campuses.
He said: “Life is complicated and nobody wants to believe it. I suppose you might call it the infantilism of society.
“There is deep infantilism in the culture, in terms of the way they think, they can’t bear complexity.”
He continued: “That you have to think, there are gradations, nobody wants that, they want to be told and to say: ‘This is good, this is bad’.
“On student campuses… There are many great plays which contain rapes, and the word rape now is even considered a rape.
“Or you can’t watch Macbeth because it’s got children being killed in it, it might trigger something when you were young that upset you once, because your uncle touched you in a nasty place, well I’m sorry."
Fry continued: “It’s a great shame and we’re all very sorry that your uncle touched you in that nasty place – you get some of my sympathy – but your self pity gets none of my sympathy.
“Self pity is the ugliest emotion in humanity.
“Get rid of it, because no one’s going to like you if you feel sorry for yourself.
“The irony is we’ll feel sorry for you, if you stop feeling sorry for yourself. Just grow up.”
“It’s a great shame and we’re all very sorry that your uncle touched you in that nasty place but your self pity gets none of my sympathy”
On Tuesday, mental health charity Mind said it would speak to Fry, the organisation's president, about the comments.
One survivor of sexual abuse wrote an open letter to Fry on The Huffington Post UK.
Addressing Fry, Tom Leavesley wrote: "I've experienced my fair share of self pity over the years, especially when thinking about my lost childhood.
"However ugly you think that is, I think I'm entitled to feel that way from time to time."
The Survivors Trust lists contact details for over a hundred specialist support agencies for women and men throughout the UK on its website.