Renowned British comedian, actor, and author Stephen Fry has urged young people to flee “dystopian” social networks in a scathing 2,600 word essay published on his personal website.
Fry previously had over 4 million Twitter followers before he deleted his account after being heavily criticised by users after he described a BAFTA winner as a “bag lady.”
In the essay, he compared the “surveilled conformity” of social media to the dystopian future depicted in The Matrix.
“Who most wants you to stay on the grid?” he said. “The advertisers. Your boss. Human Resources. The advertisers. Your parents (irony of ironies — once they distrusted it, now they need to tag you electronically, share your Facebook photos and message you to death). The advertisers. The government. Your local authority. Your school. Advertisers.”
“If you’re young and have an ounce of pride, doesn’t that list say it all?” he added.
Discussing the culture of safe spaces and trigger warnings, Fry said: “There are many great plays which contain rapes, and the word rape now is even considered a rape.”
“They’re terrible things and they have to be thought about, clearly, but if you say you can’t watch this play, you can’t watch Titus Andronicus, or you can’t read it in a Shakespeare class, or you can’t read Macbeth because it’s got children being killed in it, it might trigger something when you were young that upset you once, because uncle touched you in a nasty place, well I’m sorry,” he explained.
“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 because self-pity is the ugliest emotion in humanity,” he stated.
Fry has since apologised unreservedly.