Laurence Fox has made a name for himself by rustling feathers on social media, but one of his latest tweets has truly crossed the line.
The actor turned right-wing commentator shared a breaking news headline about footballer Benjamin Mendy, and his caption left Twitter users utterly appalled.
On Thursday it emerged that the 27-year-old Manchester City left-back had been charged with four counts of rape and one sexual assault on three women. He has now been remanded in custody over the allegations.
But rather than express his shock at the allegations, or the revelation of the accused’s identity, Fox took the opportunity to make a threatening remark about race.
“Get kneeling, f***ers,” he wrote in his post, in reference to swathes of the sporting community taking the knee before games.
His aggressive tweet was later removed by Twitter and his account was temporarily locked for violating its rules against “hateful conduct”.
But the failed mayoral hopeful expressed neither remorse nor regret for his message, instead sharing a screengrab of the notification he received from the platform, beneath the caption: “To be discussed.”
The following morning, he posted a six-part thread attempting to defend his remark by insisting “nothing in [his] admittedly provocative tweet was about race” and suggesting footballers should “own their own mess.”
He wrote: “For too long, footballers have been portrayed as saints with the highest moral virtue. When all too often they prey on young women using their fame, then use money and power to buy silence in a way ordinary men never could.
“Perhaps in light of the most recent [Mendy] case, they should take the knee to the victims of sexual assault and rape? To own their own mess? After all, these are not crimes committed by police officers 1000s of miles away, but by broken role models from within their own ranks?
“But they won’t. It’s easier to project their piety in the name of racial justice than to look to the sins committed by their colleagues.”
3 - But they won’t. It’s easier to project their piety in the name of racial justice than to look to the sins committed by their colleagues
He continued: “This is why I have consistently rejected being lectured by professional footballers. They’re hypocrites: mega-rich babies who readily and ludicrously take the position of the oppressed, when all too often they have been the ones abusing their huge power for nefarious reasons.
“Nothing in my admittedly provocative tweet was about race, although it is with crushing predictability that it was spun this way by my political opponents and the usual media grifters.
“Instead I was instructing footballers to kneel for the victims of rape and sexual assaults committed by footballers - a point none of the usual, vocal campaigners picked up on ad they clamoured to shoot the messenger and once again avoid the inconvenient message.”
6 - Instead I was instructing footballers to kneel for the victims of rape & sexual assaults committed by footballe… https://t.co/KYmBUMNKBg
Fox’s lengthy and unapologetic statement had come after scores of fellow Twitter users spoke out against his abhorrent Mendy post, with Piers Morgan condemning the 43-year-old as a “disgusting piece of work”. (Note: Fox’s original tweet contains strong language.)
Laurence Fox is a shameful & disgusting piece of work.
Posting a clip of the team ahead of their semi-final kickoff against Denmark, Fox tweeted: “You live in the one [sic] of the most tolerant and welcoming countries on earth, you virtue signalling babies.”
You live in the one of the most tolerant and welcoming countries on earth, you virtue signalling babies. https://t.co/wNuEphGrlX
“Right. It’s hard to admit when you’ve made a mistake, but as I tell my kids it’s important to acknowledge it when you think you have,” he wrote. “So here goes. I have always been behind England in any sport and any English team in any competition.”
“I think England is the most fantastic country on earth. We have done so much to promote equality in this nation that people long to come here and make the UK their home. It was therefore disheartening to see the England football team kneeling for ‘equality,” he continued.
“I feel it’s a deep insult to those who work tirelessly for all the things we have achieved to become the genuinely inclusive, warm and welcoming society we are all part of,” he added. “But to say that I want England to lose just because of their kneeling, is a step too far. I should just have said what I felt about the kneeling and got on with supporting the team.”
6 - You can hate the kneeling and love the team, so that’s what I shall do.
I would love to see politics taken ou… https://t.co/NKmsOh1oIL
He went on to say that the players “intentions are no doubt noble, even if I continue to categorically disagree with what they are doing, saying I want them to lose doesn’t serve any purpose, especially at a time when national morale could do with a boost.”
“You can hate the kneeling and love the team,” he added.
He then set out further reasons for why he disliked kneeling, but concluded with, “I’m sorry for being a dick.”
@LozzaFox Fucking grow up Laurence, this should have stayed in the drafts