Actor and musician Laurence Fox clashed with an audience member during BBC Question Time after calling the UK a “lovely tolerant country” in response to a question about racism directed towards Meghan Markle.
Actor and musician Laurence Fox – best known for starring in TV drama Lewis from 2006-2015 – was part of the panel on Thursday night’s episode of the show, filmed this week in Liverpool.
Discussing the controversy around the Duke and Duchess of of Sussex’s decision to step back from their duties as senior royals, the audience member posing the question said: “Let’s be really clear about what this is, let’s call it by its name – it’s racism.
“She’s a black woman and she has been torn to pieces.”
Before she manages to finish her point however, Fox is seen shaking his head and stating: “It’s not racism,” responding to the woman’s assertion that “it absolutely is” with another dismissal of “no it’s not”.
He continues: “We’re the most tolerant, lovely country in Europe, let’s celebrate –” he adds, before being cut off by audience applause and further questioning.
Fox adds: “It’s so easy to just throw your charge of racism at everybody and it’s really starting to get boring now.”
The audience member continues: “What worries me about your comment is you are a white privileged male” – which Fox cuts off with a dramatic groan and roll of the eyes.
He says: “I can’t help what I am, I was born like this, it’s an immutable characteristic so to call me a white privileged male is to be racist. You’re being racist.”
As is customary when it comes to Question Time it wasn’t long before the topic started trending on Twitter, where it’s probably fair to say his comments didn’t go down too well.
Of course, Fox had his supporters, but many people questioned the accuracy of his comments against the recent backdrop of racist abuse directed towards the royals, the Windrush scandal, and Brexit:
a lovely tolerant country? oh right - a PM who calls black people 'picaninnies'. And the Windrush generation who are refused cancer treatment after 40 years of residence. Where you are punished for being poor and torn apart when you marry a Prince #Meghan #bbcqt— Prof Kate Williams (@KateWilliamsme) January 17, 2020
“We’re the most tolerant lovely country in Europe”. Laurence Fox 2020. Hey Laurence tell that to the windrush generation. Tell that to the Grenfell residents. Tell that to the Muslim Women called letterboxes by our PM. #BBCQT. pic.twitter.com/daMVs9tSEI— The boy from Bengal (@supernaturalbro) January 16, 2020
“We’re the most tolerant lovely country in Europe”. Laurence Fox 2020. I’ll just pop round and tell that to my 80 year old dad who just had to apply to remain in a country he’s lived in for 71 years.— Emilia di Girolamo (@EmiliaDG) January 17, 2020
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.