The post, which has been retweeted over 5,000 times, reads: “Just had a large group over to lunch and we hugged and ate and talked and put the world to rights. It was lovely. You’ll never take that away from people. Stay out. Protect your rights. If the NHS can’t cope, then the NHS isn’t fit for purpose. Compliance is violence.”
He followed this up by writing: “The NHS isn’t my church and salvation. It’s employees aren’t my saviours. If you can’t deal with a 99.9% survival rate virus, you aren’t fit for purpose. You don’t need protecting, my elderly relatives do. I also love your emergency care and will continue to pay for it. For now.”
Understandably, these sentiments provoked an enormous backlash, with a number of high-profile figures taking Fox to task. Mental health writer Matt Haig replied, “Two days ago I had a message from an ICU nurse who was suicidal from the year she has had. Don't dress your selfishness and empathy failure as a social cause. Or just be a dick without the attention-seeking.”
Author and journalist David Banks, meanwhile, tweeted, “Lawrence [sic] Fox was a low to mid-ranking actor with only advert voiceovers for stairlifts and pile ointment to look forward to in his waning years. He’s parlayed that decline into a brief demi-notoriety, but it’s time now to let him fade into richly-deserved mediocre irrelevance…”
Actor Mark Dexter responded with an embarrassing anecdote about the time he and Fox were competing for the same role. He wrote: “Wasn’t going to get involved with the Laurence Fox stuff, but now he’s bragging about putting my family at risk, I figure why not. I was once up against him for a US TV role - to play the son of James Fox’s character. As in, Laurence’s actual dad. I got it. #HugThat”
This isn’t the first controversy Fox has been embroiled in recently. Last week, Ben Hunte, the BBC’s LGBT correspondent, faced a barrage of homophobic and racist abuse after Fox tweeted a screenshot of his Twitter account, with the caption “so glad I’m not paying for this anymore”. According to Hunte, both him and his family were targeted with abuse following this tweet.
Fox responded by saying he was, “saddened to hear you have had abuse. It’s horrible and I know exactly how you feel,” he said. “My view is that the BBC is increasingly identitarian and divisive, and should be defunded. I believe in people, not acronyms.”
Fox isn’t the only public figure to come under fire for breaking lockdown today. Rita Ora was also criticised for hosting a birthday party at a restaurant in London. There were thirty guests present, including models Cara and Poppy Delevingne. This is a clear breach of current lockdown regulations, which stipulate it is against the law to meet with more than other person outside of your household.