Comedian Stephen Fry’s boast about illicit drug taking is “sad, silly and may do damage”, a leading newspaper commentator has warned.
In his new memoirs ‘More Fool Me’, Fry brags about taking cocaine in a number of locations including Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Windsor Castle, Clarence House and the Ritz.
But Libby Purves said there is “something reprehensible” about Fry using his “friendly harmlessness” to boast about years of deliberate illegal activity.
In a piece for The Daily Telegraph, she said her “contempt” grew while reading “lavish, detailed, even instructional cocaine sections” in his memoirs.
Purves also criticised his positive description of drug dealers: “He has no awareness, it seems, that these café dealers are supplied by harder men, and dependent on a hideous international trade in which the world’s poor, and their children, find horrible deaths: shot or drowned, tortured or doubled in agonies when plastic packages burst inside them.”
She commented that if the “gatekeepers of fame” took a “sharper line” with illegal drug users, the artistic and performing community and those who aspire to belong to it would be helped.
“What happens now is that after a slap on the wrist and a brief suspension, even performers formally charged and convicted get restored to their jobs”, she said.
Purves highlighted the “heartbreaking” deaths of actress and model Natasha Collins, who drowned in the bath after an overdose, and her fiancé, TV presenter Mark Speight, who hanged himself “tormented by the disaster”.
She said, “it was impossible not to reflect that if those two had known that the risk of being outed as users would mean no more broadcast work for a decade at least – an automatic ban – they would probably still be alive”.
She concluded: “Fry’s humblebrag about his drug days is sad, silly, and may do damage. But not to him. Let’s hope he’s too old to be a role model to anyone very young.”
Purves has previously called on society to despise cannabis.
Writing in The Times, she said: “Bring on a culture of healthy social contempt, award cannabis its ‘tobacco moment’ of declining status.”
Her son Nicholas committed suicide after suffering from a form of schizophrenia – she said she loathes seeing healthy youngsters deliberately smoking a drug which can cause the illness.