Laurence Fox denies Billie Piper split made him an 'anti-woke bad boy'November 28, 2023
Laurence Fox denies ‘brutal’ divorce from Billie Piper turned him into a ‘weaponised anti-woke bad boy’ as he claims tweets branding him ‘racist’ were an ‘organised pile-on’ to destroy his career
Laurence Fox has denied he was turned into a ‘weaponised anti-woke bad boy’ by his divorce from Billie Piper as his libel trial went over his love life in stark detail.
The former Lewis actor also denied his ex-girlfriend Sara McKinnon broke up with him because of comments he made on Question Time when he accused an audience member of racism for calling him a ‘white privileged male’.
The 45-year-old also claimed that social media posts calling him a racist were ‘an organised pile on’ that destroyed his career.
The actor and right-wing activist told the High Court that a tweet by actress Nicola Thorp calling him ‘unequivocally, publicly and undeniably a racist’ ended his career.
Mr Fox is being sued by Simon Blake, a former trustee of the LGBT+ charity Stonewall and drag queen Colin Seymour, known as Crystal, for calling them ‘paedophiles’ on Twitter.
The founder of the Reclaim Party, is counter-suing the pair and Coronation Street actress Nicola Thorp, 35, after they branded him a ‘racist’ in response to a post by Sainsbury’s celebrating Black History Month in October 2020.
Laurence Fox arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice, Chancery Lane, on November 24
The actor, pictured here with his ex-wife Billie Piper on their wedding day, denies his split from her turned him into a ‘weaponised anti-woke bad boy’
The former GB News presenter is best known for playing DS James Hathaway in the ITV series Lewis and was formerly married to Doctor Who actress Billie Piper.
He claims he called the pair paedophiles as a ‘baseless and meaningless’ insult in response to them ‘baselessly’ calling him racist while Seymour and Blake claim the insult was based on homophobic tropes.
Lorna Skinner, KC, representing Blake, Seymour and Thorp, at the High Court, asked today if it was Fox’s divorce with Piper that had radicalised him into a ‘weaponised anti-woke bad boy,’ as had been stated in a Sunday Times article.
The bespectacled actor, giving evidence wearing a navy suit and purple tie, said: ‘Divorce is a pretty brutal thing and our divorce in itself was a pretty brutal divorce but I don’t think – I don’t know.’
He said the article, which referred to him being suicidal after the divorce was a ‘fairly solid’ assessment of how he felt.
‘Do you agree that was the impetus causing you to change track from acting to a ‘weaponised anti-woke bad boy?’ Ms Skinner asked.
‘No,’ Fox replied.
Fox said he had not read the interview or other media interviews he gave at the time or in preparation for the trial.
‘It was pretty sad and depressing watching the destruction of my life so I didn’t wish to read it,’ he said.
‘I tend not to read the media.’
Fox said he was thrown out of his family home after his controversial Question Time appearance in January 2020 because he refused to take off a Donald Trump ‘Make America Great Again’ hat.
‘I had taken to wearing a Trump 2020 hat and this caused so much distress to my sister that I was thrown out because I refused to remove the hat,’ he said.
He said he did not attend his family dinners for some weeks afterwards.
Laurence Fox was ‘flabbergasted’ when his acting agent dropped him, the court previously heard (pictured with girlfriend Elizabeth Barker outside court on November 22)
Simon Blake (left), Nicola Thorp and Colin Seymour (right) pictured on November 22
Fox denied that his brother-in-law actor Richard Ayoade was ‘furious’ with him about the Question Time comments.
During the show he accused an audience member of racism for calling him a ‘white privileged male.’
‘It was dreadful, that amount of media exposure is very hard for any family and suddenly everyone’s doors being are being knocked on and obviously they’re going straight to Richard who’s a very private actor and saying ‘do you think he’s a racist.’
‘I phoned Richard and said to him this is horrible can you say something and he said ‘It’s a twitter storm ignore it and it will go away.’
Ms Skinner suggested that it was comments on Question Time that destroyed his career, not the tweets by Thorp, Blake and Seymour.
He denied that he had told journalists after his Question Time appearance that he had no offers of work.
‘No I did have some offers of work, I was immediately offered Gogglebox again, I’d done quite well on Googglebox, but after the Question Time period I thought I’d just keep my head down for a bit.
‘Offers did continue from Question Time right up until Nicola Thorp’s tweet which was the end in combination with the other two.
‘I was in panic. [after Question Time] I wasn’t expecting such a huge backlash but it was temporary.
‘We were right in the middle of the BLM craze so I thought not being on the side of the BLM thing might be a bit of a problem for me as an actor.’
He said that other actors with socially conservative views often do not give interviews or express their views.
‘The effect on my life had been devastating. I’d suddenly become overnight a bit of a celebrity and people coming up to me on the street and saying whopee! or not whopee.
‘I’d had some experience of fame with my former wife because she was very popular – but not myself.
‘Despite what I say I am quite shy out on the street. Being too anxious to go out and get a pint of milk, that’s pretty devastating.
‘The serious harm done to me had nothing to do with Question Time, it certainly effected my prospects at that time.
‘I thought wow I didn’t realise the whole of the world was intolerant of certain views.
‘It’s quite shocking when overnight I became a topic of conversation in everyone’s living room.
Mr Fox, who denies being a racist, said in his written evidence he was ‘horrified’ when he saw he had been called a racist, which he later described as ‘a career-ending word, and a reputation-destroying allegation’
‘I had come to the conclusion I may never get an acting job again without expressing the correct opinion.
‘I was asking myself rhetorical questions, in order to carry on working as an actor did I need to become an LGBTQ ally or something, go on about all of the things that actors go on about being very pro.’
Fox denied that his ex-girlfriend, photographer Sara McKinnon, broke up with him because of his comments on Question Time, saying they actually broke up months later.
He said: ‘We had different views about certain political views, like climate change. I hadn’t started the political party at that point and when I did she didn’t want to be involved.’
Fox claimed that one evening he had a row with McKinnon’s father, the nature documentary maker Michael McKinnon.
‘I was sat in his his palatial mansion while he was mouthing off about climate change, I looked to the steam coming off his Olympic sized swimming pool and said ‘you’re a hypocrite’. And she was a Daddy’s girl,’ he said.
Ms Skinner said: ‘The reason why you’ve given two separate explanations of why she broke up with you is because you don’t want to tell the court that the appearance on Question Time and the podcast where you expressed racist views- those things caused her to split up with you.’
He said they did not break up straight after the Question Time appearance and were getting on well after that.
‘She went with being with someone not particularly famous to very famous,’ he said.
Ms Skinner said: ‘To be clear what we are saying is all those explanations are rubbish and it was because of your own conduct in relation to race.’
Fox said this was not true.
When asked for an example of anti-white racism, Fox referred to the Bridgerton star Adjoa Andoh referring to the balcony at the coronation of King Charles as ‘terribly white’.
Ms Skinner asked if he understood what the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ intended to convey.
Fox replied: ‘If one would say ‘White Lives Matter’ people would find a bit iffy to say.
‘We’re all equal in the eyes of God – so all lives matter.’
‘Is it saying ‘Black Lives Matter more than everyone else’s?’ Ms Skinner asked.
‘No but I think it is heightening the issue of black lives more than others, making everyone focus on black lives,’ Fox replied.
‘Every single human life is sacred, all lives matter we’re all made in the eyes of God, it doesn’t matter what the colour of your skin is.’
‘It’s saying ‘black lives matter too’, Ms Skinner said.
‘Yes, which is also encompassed wholly in all lives matter,’ Fox said.
‘What it is saying is hear us and see us, these things have been happening to us, no one is noticing and no one seems to care, that is what it is intended to convey,’ Ms Skinner said.
‘No, the earliest versions of Black Lives Matter was basically cultural Marxism and calling for the destruction of the nuclear family,’ Fox said.
Fox confirmed that he immediately started tweeting ‘All Lives Matter’ and now signs off with the phrase on Twitter, now X, every night.
Ms Skinner asked if he understood why people may find this offensive.
‘I can completely understand why a Marxist would find the phrase All Lives Matter offensive but I can’t understand why a normal person would find All Lives Matter in any way discriminatory whatsoever.
‘There were those that genuinely bought the BLM narrative that, good-hearted people, but there were also those going because they were socialists themselves, wanting to see a change, hence the violent protests we saw in the UK about the death of a man far away in America, a career criminal who’d robbed a woman at gunpoint to her belly.
‘How on earth in what real world can the phrase All Lives Matter be anything other than inclusive.’
Ms Skinner said: ‘It derails specific conversations about racism towards black people, seeks to shut down the conversation and demonstrated that you refused to acknowledge racism against black people.
‘You are an educated man and you have the sense and intelligence to understand why that is racist.’
‘It’s not racist,’ Fox said.
He also defended a tweet he had made joking that Instagram was broken in response to a day known as ‘Blackout Tuesday’, where many people changed their profile image to a black square to show support for Black Lives Matter.
Ms Skinner asked: ‘Making a joke out of the appalling way black people have been treated for generations and are being treated now is a pretty twisted thing to do isn’t it?’
Fox said he believed the people who took part were taking part in ‘pointless virtue signalling.’
Mr Fox said in his witness evidence he had a ‘vibrant and busy’ work life before the tweets and before Ms Latimer dropped him, he was asked to audition for roles including Batman and Succession
‘Given you oppose virtue signalling why is it you repeatedly tweet All Lives Matter?’ Ms Skinner asked.
‘Because there is something more pernicious and dangerous to single out one ethnic group over another,’ Fox replied.
Asked if he was a progressive or a Conservative Fox said: ‘I thought I was a bit of a progressive but it turns out I’m Hitler to be honest.’
Ms Skinner said: ‘Having seen Mr Blake and Mr Seymour give evidence do you still maintain that each of them did not honestly believe that your tweet about Sainsbury’s was racist?’
Fox said he did not think the men were telling the truth.
‘Are you also maintaining each was not honestly expressing an opinion on what you’d written?’ Ms Skinner said.
Fox replied: ‘I think the idea calling someone racist is an opinion is up for debate, and on a freedom of speech level I would uphold someone’s right to an opinion but it was a very factual tweet from Ms Thorp talking about my industry.
‘By calling them a pedophile in return that’s me saying of course I’m not a racist.
‘Having seen them give evidence they seem like two very nice people who I would probably get on with in another world but I don’t- I think this was an organised pile-on to destroy my career and it did what it intended to do.’
Of Thorp’s tweet, which said anyone who employed him would be employing a racist, he said: ‘That was the end of my career, that moment, my career finished that moment.
‘When three people who’ve got big followings all tweet the same thing that is going to generate a huge amount of internet traffic and a pile-on.’
The hearing continues.
Thorp, pregnant with her first child, wore a black dress, orange belted jacket, and pink and red coat sat next to Blake and Seymour.
She was accompanied by her husband actor Nikesh Patel.
Seymour, a contestant in season one of the BBC3 show RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, wore a pink shirt with chains and black nail varnish.
Fox’s girlfriend Elizabeth Barker was also in court.
The trial, before Mrs Justice Collins Rice, continues.
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