Laurence Fox has revealed he was phoned by a group of actors who threatened his career on loudspeaker as they told him to ‘change his tune’ over Black Lives Matter.
The 42-year-old actor, best known for playing Detective Sergeant James Hathaway in Lewis, has previously said that he would not take the knee to show solidarity with BLM protesters as it has ‘master-servant’ connotations.
Fox, who caused a furore when he appeared on Question Time last January, said he would only kneel ‘to propose, before god or before the queen’ but stressed that others should be ‘free to do what they want’.
In an interview with the Telegraph yesterday, Fox said he received a ‘very threatening’ phone call from a former colleague for his refusal to change his position towards the BLM movement.
In an interview yesterday, Fox said he received a ‘very threatening’ phone call from a former colleague for his refusal to change his position towards the BLM movement
‘I had a very threatening phone call from one [actor] who I’d worked with for six months,’ he told the Telegraph.
‘When he phoned me, I heard him put it on loudspeaker and go “Shh!” so I knew there was a table of people there.
‘I was warned several times that, unless I changed my tune, it would have an effect on my career.
‘And then I was warned formally that it was certain to have a devastating effect on my career.’
He said that the phone call did nothing but to ’empower’ him.
In June this year the actor confronted the reality that he may never find acting work again without ‘expressing the “correct” opinion’.
He said it was a ’cause of sadness’ at the possible loss of his career and the ‘bleak view of my prospects’ came after his appearance on Question Time in January.
Laurence Fox attends the Walpole British Luxury Awards 2019 at The Dorchester on November 18, 2019 in London, England
During the show, he accused Rachel Boyle, an academic at Edge Hill University, of racism after she called him ‘a white privileged male’.
He criticised the ethnicity lecturer’s charges of racism amid claims that Meghan Markle was being hounded out of Britain on account of her skin colour.
However, speaking to the Telegraph yesterday, Fox said the reaction after his appearance galvanised him to fight back against the ‘very, very angry minority of people who feel that they have absolutely every right to not be offended and therefore can control the language we use’.
He went on to reiterate his unwillingness to ‘bend the knee’ to show support for the BLM movement, saying that he would never vote Labour while party leader Keir Starmer is at the helm because he did so.
He said that taking the knee is not a gesture of solidarity, but one of subservience.
Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner kneel for George Floyd. Laurence Fox, a former Labour supporter, said he would never vote for the party because Mr Starmer took the knee
Laurence Fox and his past controversies
January 16, 2020: Fox was involved in a heated debate with the academic and ethnicity lecturer Rachel Boyle after she called him ‘a white privileged male’ on BBC’s Question Time.
The 41-year-old accused Ms Boyle, an academic at Edge Hill University on Merseyside, of ‘being racist’ after she called him ‘a white privileged male’ for denying the Duchess of Sussex was hounded from Britain for being mixed-race.
As the row continued the following day he quoted Martin Luther King’s 1963 ‘I have a dream’ speech about living in a nation where children ‘will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character’.
He said: ‘This is the position I took last night and I live by in life. If you can improve on it, I’m all ears. Or you can keep screeching ”Racist!” at me and I can carry on having a jolly good giggle at your expense. The tide is turning’.
January 17, 2020: The actor later went on to reveal that he does not date women under the age of 35 because they are ‘too woke’ and many of them are ‘absolutely bonkers’ during an interview with the Delingpod podcast.
During the podcast , Fox said that he called off a relationship with a former partner because she praised a Gillette advert which highlighted ‘toxic masculinity.’
January 23, 2020: Fox apologised for his comments about the inclusion of a Sikh soldier in the First World War film 1917 by Sir Sam Mendes.
The actor had initially referred to ‘the oddness in the casting’ of a Sikh soldier and was met by widespread criticism by historians who confirmed that Sikhs had served in the British Army.
Fox later tweeted: ‘Fellow humans who are Sikhs, I am as moved by the sacrifices your relatives made as I am by the loss of all those who die in war, whatever creed or colour.
‘Please accept my apology for being clumsy in the way I expressed myself.’
June 18, 2020: In a piece for the Spectator, Fox, questioned if Meghan Markle stepped down as a working royal because she did not get the ‘limelight’
Six days ago, Fox announced he is launching a new political party to fight the ‘culture wars’ named Reclaim, and he has already raised more than £5million.
The actor has received substantial sums from former Tory donors and hopes to stand dozens of candidates across the UK.
The star says he wants to provide a movement for people who are ‘tired of being told that we represent the very thing we have, in history, stood together against’.
It comes as Nigel Farage has also threatened to launch an anti-lockdown party after criticising Boris Johnson’s draconian measures to curb the rise in coronavirus cases.
Among Fox’s aims in his new party are reforming the BBC and celebrating Britain’s contribution to the world, according to The Telegraph.
The party is provisionally called Reclaim and has a website named LaurenceFoxParty.
He hopes to launch the party next month and the name is subject to the Electoral Commission’s approval.
His website states: ‘Over many years it has become clear that our politicians have lost touch with the people they represent and govern. Moreover, our public institutions now work to an agenda beyond their main purpose.
‘Our modern United Kingdom was born out of the respectful inclusion of so many individual voices. It is steeped in the innate values of families and communities, diverse in the truest sense but united in the want and need to call this island home.
‘The people of the United Kingdom are tired of being told that we represent the very thing we have, in history, stood together against.
‘We are all privileged to be the custodians of our shared heritage. We can reclaim a respectful nation where all are included and none are ashamed to have somewhere to call home.’
He added: ‘I have been so encouraged by the support I have received by those wishing to add their voices to this reclamation of our values.
‘Our country is now in desperate need of a new political movement which promises to make our future a shared endeavour, not a divisive one. This is now my endeavour.’
Fox, who has been a fierce critic of the BBC, sparked controversy when he said suggestions of ‘racism’ over how the Duchess of Sussex was treated in some quarters was ‘boring’.
He also hit out at black and working class actors for complaining about the industry once they have ‘five million quid in the bank’.
A Westminster source said the new party is a version of UKIP for the culture wars and believes it could attract hundreds of thousands of unhappy Conservative voters.
Sources close to Fox said the party does not see itself as strictly left or right wing but will be a broad church.
Reclaim so far has three objectives, which include protecting free speech, reforming publicly funded institutions, and preserving and celebrating Britain’s cultural history.
Planning has been underway for the last two months and backers include former Tory donor Jeremy Hosking.
Staff are already being recruited for the party after Fox was launched into the political arena after his performance on Question Time in January.