Laurence Fox

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Fox in 2008
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God Save the King?
These people are the establishment. White privilege and casual sexism is the sea they tend to swim in. Attention-seeking haters such as Katie Hopkins and strangely bitter successes such as Piers Morgan help spawn these posh understudies. Their side has won, so why are they such losers? Why are their egos so fragile?
—Suzanne Moore[1]
If you want your own "eco system" I suggest you fuck off back to Jamaica and stop racially abusing London’s Asian community.
—Fox, showing anti-anti-racist in action[2]

Laurence Fox (1978–) is a British actor, singer, TV personality, anti-anti-racist loudmouth, and politician (founder and co-leader of the Reclaim PartyWikipedia) who is opposed to Black Lives Matter and is a defender of the greatness of the British Empire and white British people. Since first speaking on the subject of race in January 2020 he has created a series of public controversies, culminating in plans to launch his own political party, Reclaim.

Family, early life and career[edit]

A great deal of Laurence's prominence is due to the fact he is a member of the Fox family, a posh acting/show business dynasty. His father is James Fox (whose prominent roles include Performance, A Passage to India, A Question of Attribution, etc), and his uncles are Edward (The Day of the Jackal, A Bridge Too Far, Gandhi) and theatre/film/TV producer Robert (Iris, The Hours, The Crown). Further actors in the family include Lozza's siblings Jack (Fresh Meat, Riviera, Sandition), and Lydia (Garth Marenghi's Darkplace) and cousins Emilia (Pride & Prejudice, Silent Witness) and Freddie (Cucumber, Slow Horses). (James, Edward, Jack and Freddie all made seperate guest appearances in Lewis, which Laurence starred in.)

Laurence attended Harrow, the same school as Churchill, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, taking various minor acting roles before getting his big break as Kevin Whately's sidekick on popular detective show Lewis, a spin-off of the long running Inspector Morse. Lewis ran from 2006 to 2015, and in 2016 he released his debut album of singer-songwriter folk-rock, Holding Patterns, which failed to trouble the charts. He was formerly married to Doctor Who/Secret Diary of a Call Girl actor Billie Piper and his brother in law is actor and filmmaker Richard Ayoade.[3][4]

Question Time and race[edit]

His political views first crawled into daylight when he was selected as a panelist on BBC1 political discussion program Question Time: the show's panel largely comprises politicians and journalists, but they sometimes have a gimmicky non-professional-politico to make up the numbers and inject some new perspectives. A (Black, female) member of the audience asked a question about the sometimes racist attitude of the media to Meghan Markle, the mixed-race wife of Prince Harry. Fox denied that there was any racism involved in the way certain sections of the media took a pathological hatred to Markle, and when it was suggested that Fox as a wealthy white person might enjoy a certain amount of privilege, he said it was "racist" to call him a "white, privileged male". He also said, "It's so easy to throw the card of racism at everybody… and it's really starting to get boring now." Fox's boredom at the subject of racism produced a certain media storm.[5]

In the aftermath he emphasized his cluenessness on race by criticising the 2019 film 1917 (directed by Sam Mendes) for including a Sikh character, saying it "felt incongruous" and referring to "oddness in the casting". Fox was unaware that 130,000 Sikh soldiers served in World War One as part of the army of British India. After criticism, Fox apologised.[6]

He claims to have been himself the victim of racism as a white man in Africa, where he felt upset that Black Africans were deferential to him.[4]

He has criticised Black History Month for "indoctrination and divisive ideologies", tweeting a link to an article by Calvin Robinson with the same message.[7] Robinson is a Senior Fellow at the right-wing think tank Policy Exchange, which has close links to the British government, and personally believes "#BlackLivesMatter is a dangerous mix of Marxism and Critical Race Theory, which poses a fundamental threat to race relations in Britain."[8][9]

He claims to have been ostracized by the acting world for his beliefs.[10] He caused a massive argument at British actors' union Equity: after his Question Time appearance, ethnic minority union reps accused him of acting to "berate and bully women of colour attempting to discuss issues of race and gender discrimination", "playing to the gallery, a populist tirade, with women of colour being used as cannon fodder", and said he had been trying to conceal his privilege and "damn any recognition of that privilege as the very racism he claims is exaggerated when people of colour try to discuss it". Fox threatened to sue Equity for libel, and the union's leadership apologised, but in response its entire race equality committee resigned in protest at the apology.[11] In 2024, a high court dismissed his case where he claimed that was libelled when he was called a racist.[12]

In a bizarre stunt to prove that he wasn't a racist, he set about insulting people on Twitter by (falsely) calling them paedophiles, believing this was recompense for being accused of racism. However he seemed to quickly realise this was a bit stupid, and deleted the tweets.[13][14] Despite this, three of his victims brought cases for libel: Simon Blake (of LGBT charity Stonewall UK and Mental Health First Aid England), Crystal (a performer from Ru Paul's Drag Race UK) and Nicola Thorp (TV actress and journalist).[15][16]

Misogynistic rantings[edit]

There was a time when Fox presented a regular Friday night TV slot on GB News, the UK's answer to Fox News.[17] His time on the network was relatively brief due to his appearance on Dan Wootton Tonight (another current affairs series by GB News) in 2023. Angry at a female journalist named Ava Evans because of comments she made about male suicide, Fox launched into a misogynistic tirade about Evans while presenter Dan Wootton smirked and laughed.[18] For readers curious about what was said, Fox claimed that no "self-respecting man" would ever want to sleep with Evans ("who'd want to shag that?") and called her "pathetic and embarrassing".[19]

In a stopped clock moment for the company, GB News sacked Fox and suspended Wootton,[20] calling Fox's comments "unacceptable". A third presenter who had defended the two men was also sacked, while Wootton remains suspended as an internal investigation into his behaviour continues.[21]

To add insult to injury, Fox was apparently informed that he'd been fired while he was being held in police custody (see below).[22]

Working on his music[edit]

He released his first album, Holding Patterns, in 2016, and followed it up with A Grief Observed in 2019. These met with general indifference: Holding Patterns reached 89 in the UK charts in a 2-week chart run, and the follow-up failed to reach the Top 100 despite a large media campaign and a lot of press (based entirely on his acting success and family, and none of it in newspapers' music sections, according to music journalist Michael Hann). Hann said of its merits: "Fox’s music isn't terrible. ... Its single biggest weaknesses is Fox’s voice, which almost touches good, but is also just far enough away to be oddly disconcerting. He hits all the right notes (and in the right order), but it’s a blunt instrument, unvarying in tone and timbre. He always sounds as though he is making a point in a pub argument, whether he is professing his love, pondering the state of the world, or confessing his sins."[23]

Most of his songs are about his divorce from Billie Piper, but his anthem and statement of principles is "The Distance".[23] This includes the classic complaint of the privileged white male media personality who somehow thinks he's censored despite never being out of the newspapers:

The first to fall is laughter
Just to quell the unoffended
They seek to murder your opinion

He improbably promotes himself as a last light of The Enlightenment standing up for reason against intolerance: "The light has been turned down on the age of reason / Replaced by blinding fires that burn wild across the region".[23]

Working on other people's music[edit]

On 19 November 2020, he tweeted a typically inflammatory article[24] from the Daily Mail about the 1987 Christmas song "Fairytale of New York"Wikipedia by The PoguesWikipedia. The article claimed that the song was being censored by the BBC due to the homophobic slur "f*****" in the lyrics, although versions without the slur have been played for some years, and the original version with the slur was still broadcast on BBC Radio 2. The article was updated later that day to include the events below. Fox tweeted:

Here we go again. The cultural commissars at the @bbc are telling you what is and isn’t appropriate for your ignorant little ears. Wouldn’t it be nice if we sent the (proper) version to the top of the charts? #DefundTheBBC[25]

Minutes later, The Pogues memorably responded:

Fuck off you little herrenvolk shite[26]

Herrenvolk, meaning "master race", was a concept in Nazi ideology.

Criminal career[edit]

Fox was arrested by the Metropolitan Police on October 4 2023, the same day as his firing from GB News,[20][27][note 1] for calling on people unhappy with London's Ultra Low Emission ZoneWikipedia (ULEZ) to destroy traffic cameras and saying that he himself would take part in such activity.[20]

Other beliefs[edit]

He appears to be something of a COVID-19 denialist or skeptic, calling the government response "hysteria" and saying that people should take their masks off.[28] Fox is also an anti-vaxxer who during the COVID pandemic resorted to taking every medicine and horse dewormer he could think of rather than get vaccinated.[29]

He has become associated with the right-wing libertarian sect around Spiked magazine, recording interviews and podcasts with James Delingpole, Julia Hartley-Brewer, etc.[1] It seems like the alternative medicine might have had some side-effects on his brain as he tweets outright hatred against transgender people, nothing new, just the usual right-wing wrongs.[30]

In June 2022, he was suspended from Twitter after declaring his admiration of far-right-affiliated transphobe Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull (Posie Parker), attacking trans rights and posting a swastika made up of trans pride and LGBT rainbow flags.[31][32] His actions were widely condemned as they happened the same weekend as an attack on a gay bar in Oslo.[31] He was also condemned by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.[33]

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to[edit]

In September 2020, he announced he was forming a new political party, and claimed to have received £5 million (US$ 6.4m) in donations. The party is provisionally called Reclaim. Its policies are vague but it wants to reform broadcasting and education to be "free from political bias".[34] One of the main donors is Jeremy Hosking, who made his fortune in private equity and has donated millions to causes around Brexit and the Conservative Party.[35][36] In the first quarter of 2021, the party received a sizable £1,153,300 in donations, mostly from Hosking.[37]

Fox stood as a candidate for Mayor of London in the May 2021 poll, with the main points of his platform being eliminating regulations against the spread of COVID-19 and opposing "political correctness".[38] Fox received 1.9% of first-preference votes (47,634), almost twice as many as Count BinfaceWikipedia of the Count Binface Party, a man dressed as a bin who polled 1%. He was outpolled by Niko Omilana, a YouTuber who had pledged to cut the price of Freddos chocolate bars to 5p. Needless to say, he lost the deposit.[39]

Reclaim currently has no MPs. Andrew Bridgen, who was expelled from the Conservative Party for comparing vaccines to The Holocaust, briefly joined the party after his expulsion,[40] but later quit due to differences with Fox.[41]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 I’d never heard of Laurence Fox until he started lecturing us about racism, Suzanne Moore, 20 Jan 2020
  2. If you want your own "eco system" I suggest you fuck off back to Jamaica and stop racially abusing London’s Asian community. by Laurence Fox (10:46 AM · Sep 14, 2023) Twitter (archived from 26 Sep 2023 12:52:34 UTC).
  3. See the Wikipedia article on Laurence Fox.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Why 'half-educated' Laurence Fox is back after his Question Time fiasco, The Guardian, 27 April 2020
  5. Laurence Fox clashes with Question Time audience member over Meghan Markle racism row, The Evening Standard (London), 17 Jan 2020
  6. Laurence Fox apologises to Sikhs for 'clumsy' 1917 comments, BBC, 24 Jan 2020
  7. "With Black History Month starting on Thursday, here are some resources for schools compiled by ⁦@calvinrobinson⁩, free from indoctrination and divisive ideologies. Also a reminder that parents have right to know what their kids are being taught. https://dontdivideus.com/black-history-month/", Laurence Fox, Twitter, Sep 28, 2020 https://twitter.com/LozzaFox/status/1310477887145992192
  8. Policy Exchange, PowerBase
  9. "#BlackLivesMatter is a dangerous mix of Marxism and Critical Race Theory which poses a fundamental threat to race relations in Britain. Britain is one of the most successful examples of a multi-racial democracy, that the world has ever seen. Do not let #BLM seize the narrative.", Calvin Robinson, Twitter, Sep 16, 2020, https://twitter.com/calvinrobinson/status/1306119365679550464
  10. Laurence Fox claims there is a 'concerted drive' in the acting world to make him 'be quiet' about his controversial views after Question Time rant, Daily Mail, 29 June 2020
  11. Equity apology to Laurence Fox sparks string of resignations, The Guardian, 13 Mar 2020
  12. Laurence Fox loses libel battle with Twitter users he called paedophiles: Reclaim party founder defamed two men on site now known as X after they called him a racist, judge rules by Matthew Weaver (Mon 29 Jan 2024 10.42 EST) The Guardian.
  13. "... and to prove the truth of that, here’s Andrew Doyle popping up to back him up. They both know exactly what he’s trying to achieve with this stunt.", @politicworm on Twitter, Oct 5, 2020, archived at https://archive.is/MdRNW
  14. "UPDATE Already bogged down on the supermarket front, the Murray manoeuvre fails. Under withering retaliatory fire & suggestions of mental illness, the reputational damage is simply too great. In the cold morning light Fox sounds the retreat on talkRadio & withdraws his tweets.", @politicworm on Twitter, Oct 5, 2020
  15. Laurence Fox sued – again – for ‘homophobic defamation’ after calling Drag Race UK star Crystal a ‘paedophile’, Pink News, 6 Oct 2020
  16. Actor Laurence Fox's bid for jury trial in High Court 'paedophile' libel battle fails, Evening Standard, 19 May 2022
  17. Laurence Fox archive at the GB News website.
  18. Journalist Ava Evans' comments on male suicide that sparked Laurence Fox's GB News tirade, The Mirror, 28 Sept 2023
  19. What did Laurence Fox say about Ava Evans on GB News? 'Unacceptable' comments in full and reaction to his suspension, Sky News, 28 Sept 2023
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 British Actor Laurence Fox Fired By GB News & Arrested Within The Space Of A Few Hours, Deadline, 4 Oct 2023
  21. Laurence Fox and Calvin Robinson sacked by GB News, BBC News, 4 Oct 2023
  22. Laurence Fox ‘found out he’d been sacked from GB News while in custody’, Daily Telegraph, 4 Oct 2023
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Laurence Fox's music career: less Chelsea Hotel than Chelsea Travelodge, Michael Hann, The Guardian, 21 Jan 2020
  24. The Pogues tell Laurence Fox to 'f*** off' in BBC censorship row over lyrics of Christmas classic Fairytale of New York, The Daily Mail, 19 Nov 2020
  25. Here we go again. The cultural commissars at the BBC are telling you what is and isn’t appropriate for your ignorant little ears..., Laurence Fox Twitter account, 19 Nov 2020
  26. Fuck off you little herrenvolk shite, Official Pogues Twitter account, 19 Nov 2020
  27. Laurence Fox arrested over remarks on Ulez cameras as GB News sacks him, The Guardian, 4 Oct 2023
  28. Laurence Fox fumes as Sadiq Khan encourages furlough scheme extension ‘Forget the madness', The Daily Express, Aug 29, 2020
  29. Laurence Fox says he has coronavirus and is taking ivermectin, The Guardian, Jan 30, 2022
  30. https://twitter.com/IndiaWilloughby/status/1541172037619748864
  31. 31.0 31.1 Laurence Fox temporarily suspended from Twitter after posting LGBTQ+ swastika, Pink News, 27 June 2022
  32. Of Course TERFs Have Found Common Cause With White Nationalists, Jezebel, 17 Oct 2019
  33. Laurence Fox condemned by Holocaust charities over rainbow flag swastika post, The Jewish Chronicle, 27 June 2022
  34. Laurence Fox launching political party to 'reclaim' British values, The Guardian, 27 Sep, 2020
  35. Laurence Fox: why I'm starting a new political party, Christopher Hope, The Sunday Telegraph, 27 September 2020
  36. See the Wikipedia article on Jeremy Hosking.
  37. Laurence Fox’s political party received almost same donations as Lib Dems, The Guardian, 3 Jun, 2021
  38. Laurence Fox to Count Binface: the most colourful London mayor candidates, The Week, 6 May 2021
  39. London Elections 2021 - London Mayor, BBC News, May 2021
  40. Andrew Bridgen becomes first Reclaim MP after expulsion from Tories, The Guardian, 10 May 2023
  41. Ex-Tory MP quits Reclaim Party after seven months, BBC News, 20 December 2023
  1. Not a good day for him.