Sunday, 1 November 2009

The Fry débacle, Addendum: #envioushomo and Alan Davies

I have two things to say which are effectively replies to comments on my last entry but I feel are significant enough to highlight, and not lose them in what is effectively a stream of footnotes.

Firstly, several people have picked up on a hashtag which appeared very early on in the day and caused some to shower me and others in outrage. I understand that it has been the cause of a certain amount of bad blood during the day (there was just FAR too much going on for me to get a handle on it), and a topic for at least three comments on my blog.

I am talking about

This was a term of fondness not addressed to Stephen Fry and it wasn't even addressed to me! As anyone who can use the Twitter search function (i.e. every-bloody-one) can see (check out the link I have provided above), it originated with a tweet from my friend @w00dRabbit who is gay, and called himself... an envious homo!

Here's his tweet:

I replied to him and because Tweetdeck, my Twitter application of choice, automatically appends any hashtags when replying, it showed up in my timeline. I thought it was fairly amusing and didn't consider for an instant that anyone could misconstrue it - after all, it's there for anyone to get the original context, isn't it?

EDIT: A comment
has just made me realise that @woodRabbit's tweets are protected, which means he needs to approve his followers and this tweets don't show up in the general timeline. (I've always found the concept of protected tweets a bit odd, between you and me.) Because we already follow each other, I see his tweets normally and thus made nothing of it.

It was therefore unfair of me to have a go at anyone in the previous version of this blog for not knowing the source of the hashtag. My bad as the youngsters say. My turn to eat crow. Nevertheless, I hope the above has now cleared it all up.

So folks, please get off my back, or anyone else's, for being homophobic or anything else of that ilk, cos you're jumping to ENTIRELY the w
rong conclusions!

The second item I would like to address is on a different level. I've honestly not had time to read through my twitter feed of the day. I've just picked up a few pits and pieces I've had pointed to me, mainly positive. I have no desire to see just how much vitriol people from around the planet could hurl in my direction.

A few friends, however, have pointed me in the direction of specific comments they felt were particularly egregious and in most cases I've laughed them off. One person, however, is in a very different category.

I am talking of Alan Davies, known in Twitter circles as @alandavies1. For the benefit of full disclosure, I should say that Alan Davies was probably the fourth or fifth person I followed on joining Twitter and I have, on and off, enjoyed what he's had to say. I've even replied to some of his stuff with positive noises.

He's Stephen Fry's friend, and along with Stephen, makes QI work as a concept and a show. I don't blame him for a moment for coming to Stephen Fry's defence. Several of my real-life friends came to mine, and that's only right. I fully expect they called each other tossers and wankers and twats.

But to my knowledge nobody who supported me has over a hundred thousand followers and called anyone else a c*nt. Yet Alan Davies considers this normal and acceptable behaviour, and it seems to me without having a clue about the background to the story or feeling the need to find out.

Much more important though is the tweet (which he has since deleted) in which he invited people to physically gang up on me, in "the Essex way".

Frankly, I expected just a little more class frrom the guy.

I have said that I expect no apology from Stephen Fry. But, BOY do I expect one from Alan Davies. Preferably to my face. That, or call me a wanker to my face, which is also, according to him, the Essex way. (He already called me a moron and a wanker on Twitter, so he'd just be following up on his own standards.)

Because I am more than wiling to call him an irresponsible idiot to his face, should anyone accord me the opportunity.

I really, HONESTLY, have no desire to drag this unfortunate misunderstanding out any more, but Alan Davies' part in all this leaves me with a particularly nasty taste in my mouth, and he's the only one who can take it away.

Similarly to my other blog entry which I ended with thanks to my friends, I would like to thank @
lachance680 for being particularly tenaciously on Alan Davies's back and for saving some of his more ill-judged comments for me to see.

EDIT: After a few comments on the subject, I would like to explain that it's not because Alan Davies said something slightly foolish that I demand an apology from him. It's specificially because he has MANY more followers than anyone else in this argument and was agreeing with the idea of working up the internet mob to become a real-world one :

@Alandavies1 Anyone has a pop at your mates you stick up for them.Twittr needs to be more like Essex.If you wouldn't say it to their face then do shut up

Firequacker @alandavies1 followed by smashing their windows slashing their tyres and sending dogs muck through the leter box.. Grays Stylee ??

@Alandavies1 @Firequacker if needs be

(anyone who really wanted to could identify me from my online existence and work out where I live). This is bad enough coming from anyone, but for someone with a public face it is simply irresponsible. Recent events should have taught him that he has sway over people and this kind of talk is really not on.


  1. "after all, it's there for anyone to get the original context? Isn't it?" Well, no, since @w00dRabbit protects his entries.

    But I figured out the sense of it anyway, as I said in a comment to your other entry.

    Cheers, sleep well, it'll all look better after a good night's sleep. Well. All except Alan Davies. I can't promise anything there.

  2. To call the idiots sheep is doing a disservice to small fluffy mammals everywhere. No doubt you'll receive a fair few apologies today (and hopefully some grunt of understanding from Alan Davies - he only exacerbated the situation), but what will they mean if they're just following Stephen's advice?

    I suspect Twitter's nascent reputation for important events has just taken a serious nosedive. Ugh.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. So what you are saying is you want an apology because someone has posted a hurtful and unthinking comment on the Internet about yourself, for all to read. And you can't see the irony?

  5. Richard,

    I now see how the hashtag 'issue' arose and accept that my assumption it was intended pejoritively towards Stephen way incorrect. I apologise for suggesting that ypu were bullying Stephen, which was clearly not the case. I concur with your edit about protected accounts, prompted by clauclauclaudia's comment. I did click the hashtag in the your tweet when I first read it as well as clicking the @ name of the person to whom you were replying, and in both instances was unable to see his original tweet. However, I was and am aware of the auto-add hashtag feature of Tweetdeck and I could have also assumed that it was this that had caused the hashtag to be added to the end of your @ reply.

    At the moment, it does seem as if things are blowing over and going back to normal, whatever that is, and I'm pleased for you and Stephen that it's soon to be forgotten. However, your reconciliation with Stephen, being about 5 hours old at the time of writing this, doesn't seem to have filtered its way into all of the mainstream media: the Brodcating House program on Radio 4 just had a discussion on Stephen's Fry's leaving Twitter and on Twitter itself and didn't appear to have bothered to do any last minute (5 hours?) checks on Twitter to see what the latest 'news' might be.

    As for the Alan Davies thing, my only comment is to reiterate that many things are said in haste that can not be retracted (even by deleting the tweet!) so I expect everyone needs to just slow down in this 'real time' world and think about what they write and say to avoid regrets and repentance galore.


  6. Its funny how something manifested by boredom can be so profoundly boring. Funny or tedious, but not both.

    Alan Davis has the right to his opinion god damn it.

    Story on the issue at

  7. No, Vince, I do not demand an apology for making an unguarded comment. I demand an apology for proposing to use his significant "followership" to form a real-world mob, attack me and burn my house down. And then to defend that position.

    This despite saying that one shouldn't be prepared to say anything online that one is not prepared to say something to a person's face. I challenge Alan Davies to repeat his invitation to form a mob in front of me and others.

    Talk really is cheap and I can take it, but just the suggestion of physical violence in this kind of situation is just too much.

  8. Jeez, what a debarcle over such an innocent tweet. I see you're getting thousands of (mostly positive) @ replies but wanted to lend some over the sea support as well. Chin up and I think you can just block the silly tweeps who added you to idiots lists.

    An Aussie who was once in Birmingham.


  9. I think in no way should Alan Davies apologise to you. He didn't suggest that a mob be sent to your house or anything similar (from what I can see now atleast), he suggested that people should think before they tweet and that twitter would be better if people thought about the consequences of their actions first, which is a common problem. Looking at YouTube and the likes proves this. What you said in your original post which started this whole "débacle" was pointless, but you had as much of a right to say it as Alan Davies did his comment.

  10. I wholeheartedly agree with your views on Alan Davies' twitter behaviour yesterday - he has really shown himself up.

  11. It all got a bit ridiculous. What are we all supposed to do now - refrain from even the mildest criticism of all national treasures in case they get upset, and we then become pariahs ?
    You did nothing wrong, and I'm glad Stephen Fry acknowledges this.

  12. And all this because you said some of his entries were boring? *gasp* how could you?!? The man isn't some sort of demi-god of continual hilarity, he's just a bloke with ups and downs at the end of the day..and some times he IS boring. As are you and I. Making icons of people is setting them up for a fall in the first place.
    Don't get me wrong, I love SF's stuff..apparently he's the "thinking woman's crumpet".. but that WAS a hissy fit, AD was massively out of order, and as for the hatemail you got... well, some people would do well not to follow the herd, especially when the lead sheep is carrying a flaming pitchfork.

  13. A good blog entry. This whole thing is absurd, and shows that many (mainly anonymous) Twitter users (i.e. the ones shouting abuse) are immature children... and quite sad people, too.

    I expected better of Alan Davies though. His behaviour has been very childish, and a complete joke.

    The whole "Essex style, face-to-face" stance is also ridiculous and a bit bullying.

    I've sent a Tweet @alandavies1 saying he's acting OTT, and I have nothing to hide. My username is my real name (and Googling it will show up my address, phone number, e-mail address, etc, quickly).

    If he's reading this: Alan, you are acting like a baby. Please feel free to Google my name (as per my Tweet) and meet up with me if you'd like.

    Here's hoping this whole mess dies down soon, and the Twitter mob (fuelled by Alan Davies) gets bored and bullies someone else soon.

  14. I follow Stephen Fry and I saw what was written yesterday and the following storm, and I must admit when I read it I thought 'you poor guy'. We all say things that we wish we could take back. It's the nature of the human condition. However, I read some of your friends' tweets to Alan Davies and his reply to many people who were defending you and I was utterly appalled by his behaviour! He is using his considerable influence to incite hatred and violence, which is nothing short of bullying. The vitriol of his language is deplorable. Does it remind you anyone? Nick Griffin, Abu Hamza, et al? I wouldn't be surprised if there were complaints lodged against him, and in fact, it is an arrestable offence. I think it shows an utter lack of intelligence and discretion on his part. Yes, he should defend his friend. Shouldn't we all? But this is another matter entirely. It would be extremely interesting to see the reaction he gets on QI. Please believe that the majority of us are rational beings and would never resort to such harrassment, and fully support you and Stephen Fry, but I find it hard to believe that many will support Davies, except for those sheep who can't think for themselves. I wish you the very best of luck, and I pray that no harm comes to you as a result of his pathetic diatribe. Huge hugs to you.

  15. It's really blown out of proportion now, isn't it?

    Little boys and playground springs to mind.

    Keep your head down and it'll blow over (if you want it to). Let the others carrying on if they want, but you be the mature one and IGNORE it.

  16. If you want you guys can blame everything on Obama, that's what Americans do.
    I'm now following both you and Stephen, not b/c of the argument, but you are both more interesting than the stay at home mommy book-bloggers I follow.
    I agree that celebs should not use their followers to threaten others- that is dangerous behavior.
    Ellen DeGeneres shut-down a perfectly respectable animal shelter b/c she wasn't allowed to break their rules and the shelter then got death threats.
    Good luck to you

  17. As a titterer who follows you only because a) I've now heard of you, and b) because I felt an extreme sense of there but for the grace of God when I read your oh so offensive post, I'd like to place on record how impressively I feel you've handled the whole unwelcome and unwarranted firestorm. I have genuinely no idea how I might, or might not, have coped in your shoes. So I'm going to continue to follow you, whether you like it or not! :)

  18. Fry has now admitted (on Twitter) that he overreacted and is surprised at what a fuss it created. He's also appealed for people to stop being horrible to brumplum.

    The mob mentality is so strange. To my mind it got really bad when the red-tops decided to pretend there were paedophiles on every corner, and now escalates with every tiny thing that pops up, from BBC scandals to Sharia law, Obama-songs (in the U.S.) to immigrant policy leaks (U.K.).

    Richard, I can't pretend to know what it is like to have thousands of people hate you for a very innocuous comment that barely counted as an insult, but hopefully it's over now. If the reporter hassles you, just point him in the direction of SF's most recent Tweets.

  19. I don't think it was Alan Davies who suggested burning your house down, I was observing the carnage last night (a depressing commentary on my social life) and I didn't see that particular tweet from him. Not that he wasn't already doing a fantastic job of making himself look a ass.

  20. It's all a bit of a storm in a teacup, really. Bored now.

  21. Yo dude,

    He is the most inane, boring Twitterer I've come across.

    Talk about smashing the forth wall.

    More like thermonuking the entire West End.

    Stop apologising and start kicking arse.

    It's about time that little prick-tease Davis got a sore one.


  22. If someone I followed tried to turn me into a 'mob' to hound someone I would just unfollow them. Its not what twitter is for. And people like that aren't worth bothering with. Hope you feel better now you have got it off your chest, and I hope nobody takes that silly person seriously. I haven't followed anyone that stupid so your post came as a bit of a shock to me. It is as well to be aware that this sort of thing goes on amongst these 'adults'. They are probably the same lot that voted to ban fox hunting too...

  23. I must apologise as I confused Plum somewhat on the house burning tweet. He thought I meant Davies had said it, but it wasn't. It was Piscataur who felt it was an appropriate comment.

  24. Sorry you are not enjoying this as much as we all are. Can I suggest you pick on @aplusk next?

    He has 3M followers!

  25. How to say this delicately? I think Fry's original response to you was verging on the attention seeking, but knowing of his previous disappearance - from that play in the early 1990s - and having personal knowledge of depressive conditions (although, not bi-polar), I sympathized.

    This wasn't really unusual behaviour from him.

    The responses you received, however, do point to there being "too much aggression and unkindness around". Maybe Davies was correct when he said that anyone seeing someone having a pop at their mates would wade in, but Fry was not "their" mate... he was merely someone they've decided to associate with through a simple mouse click.

    Although I don't think Davies was seriously advocating criminal damage/assault, he's enflamed a precarious situation. As Arnold J. Rimmer said, we all have something to bring to the discussion, and he should think about bringing silence.

    Methinks he deserves a tongue-lashing like the time he scoffed, on QI, at Lew Wallace writing Ben Hur.

  26. EDIT - oh, what lachance said.

  27. The fact is Alan Davies was right, you ARE a cunt of the highest order. Go back to your pointless BORING blog life, the amount you have written about the episode shows how much you are actually enjoying the whole media hoo har. Any decent person would keep quiet.

  28. Alan Davies bites homeless people. Anyone considering following his bizarre instructions should maybe reconsider him
    as a role model and ringleader.

    I'm bipolar and I understand why Stephen reacted the way he did. I'm sad that he felt so bad about it. Maybe what you said was unthoughtful but your biggest crime was bad timing.

  29. Man, I really feel for you. You said someone's tweets are boring, for Christ's sake. You're not attacking someone's character, or perpetrating intolerance, or unkindness; you're simply stating your opinion, which you have every right to do. Saying someone sometimes posts boring things on the internet isn't the same as calling someone a twat or a moron or worse, and I wish all of these people would come to terms with that. I wish you the best.

    Chris in Minnesota

  30. Well hotdannyuk, judging by your actions you clearly decided to refrain from displaying any common decency yourself.


  31. Yeah, I mean it hardly makes sense to call you homophobic seeing as you follow so many gay porn blogs!

    Pretty brave of you to publicly show that too. I wouldn't exactly post my top 10 fap-fodder for the world to see, but hey maybe it's a gay-pride thing.