Stephen Fry has quit Twitter again, after his “bag lady” joke at costume designer Jenny Beavan at the BAFTAs backfired on Sunday.
Mad Max: Fury Road designer Beavan won the Best Costume Design prize, wearing a leather jacket and scarf as she accepted her award at the black-tie event. Fry remarked: “Only one of the great cinematic costume designers would come to an awards ceremony dressed as a bag lady.”
Fry later revealed that Beavan is a friend after they worked on two films together, but the BAFTA audience and viewers watching on BBC1 were unaware of their acquaintance and many thought Fry was simply being rude.
“Seven years ago, Fry quit after a user said his jokes were boring”
After receiving hundreds of complaints saying his remark was crass, Fry quit Twitter on Monday morning. He has previously left the site three times between 2009 and 2014, but this is the first occasion when the presenter has actually deleted his account altogether.
Two of the previous occasions when Fry left Twitter were due to an increased workload. Fry’s anger at the public’s reaction to his Beavan joke is the first time since 2009 when he has left Twitter for being upset. Seven years ago, he quit after a user said his jokes were boring.
Fry was one of the earliest adopters of Twitter and, along with Jonathan Ross, was instrumental in popularising the site in Britain. He even employs someone to manage his Twitter account.
Fry may yet return to Twitter – Loaded recalls six other stars who quit. Many of them have since returned….
As part of a general social media clearout, the Agent Carter star left both Twitter and Instagram last November. Atwell denied trolling was responsible, stating: “I must make it clear, no trolls have chased me away. I’ve just decided to leave to be more present and private. Thanks for following!”
Time before returning to Twitter: Four months later, Atwell is still away from social media.
Twitter would really be in crisis if @MrDDyer walked off. One of social media’s great randomists, Dyer went postal at three trolls in a row on Boxing Day last year.
One EastEnders viewer said his aunt didn’t rate Dyer’s acting, leading him to say: “Ahhh. Your aunty? That’s cute. She suffer from cataracts?”
Wind-up merchant Alex Pymster tweeted Dyer to say EastEnders is “bollocks” and made him want to shoot himself every time his girlfriend watched it. Dyer responded: “I’d wanna shoot myself in the head as well if my dog had a better boat than me. Send my love to your missus.”
Eventually tiring of interacting with trolls, Dyer said: “I’m gonna swerve Twitter for a bit. Gonna be wrapped around my beautiful kids, because the thing is I can’t see the haters when I’ve got my love glasses on.”
Time before returning to Twitter: “A bit” turned out to be 24 hours. He was back plugging EastEnders, before normal service resumed soon after.
Last September, the Girls creator revealed she’d actually quit looking at Twitter several months previously. Her account is still open, but “someone else posts for me”. Dunham said Twitter “creates cancerous stuff” and didn’t feel safe for her. She remains on Instagram, saying its reliance on images instead of words made it harder to be abusive.
Time before returning to Twitter: Who can say? Someone is still posting to Dunham’s four million followers, but who is it?
Unlucky with injury, Everton midfielder Gibson hasn’t been able to make it back into the side after a year out with a ruptured cruciate ligament. If anything, the Republic Of Ireland international was even more unfortunate with Twitter. When still with first club Manchester United, Gibson joined Twitter in 2011. He walked off just two hours later, after a volley of abuse. He hadn’t even actually bothered tweeting any messages.
Time before returning Twitter: Showing the same determination as he does in the tackle, Gibson has yet to come back.
A leading thinker to rival Noam Chomsky and Aristotle, Will Smith’s lad has been responsible for insight including “Most trees are blue” and “How can mirrors be real if our eyes aren’t real?” But then, last May, the world of philosophy was reduced to dust after Smith deleted his account with no explanation. Who would tell us now that, if newborn babies could speak, they’d be the most intelligent beings on Earth?
Time before returning to Twitter: One month. Although Smith’s postings have been regrettably nonsense-free recently.
The creator of Buffy and Firefly joined Twitter in 2013 and first quit six months later, saying he felt it had become “my second job”. He soon rejoined, but left again last May. At the time, he didn’t explain why he deleted his account. A quick glance through his timeline soon revealed hideous trolling linked to his new Avengers film Age Of Ultron. But Whedon later explained: “I just thought ‘Wait, if I’m going to start writing again, I’m going to have to go to my quiet place.’”
Time before returning to Twitter: Nine months later, Whedon is either still writing or he doesn’t need a second job.
Loaded’s deputy editor John Earls has covered entertainment and sport across a range of national newspapers, plus several football and music magazines, since 1990. Follow him on Twitter at @EarlsJohn