Words: Jamie Tabberer
RuPaul's Drag Race UK star Crystal is launching legal action against Laurence Fox over a tweet in which the actor called the star a "paedophile".
Crystal [pictured below] joins Stonewall deputy chair Simon Blake in suing Fox for defamation, after the actor used the same slur against the charity boss following a row over a recent Black History Month post by Sainsbury's.
Commenting to Attitude today, Crystal said: “I’ve had an amazing response - obviously this is something that really resonates with people. I’ve had a lot of people ask if they can support me or help fundraise my legal fees. This support is super appreciated, but not necessary.
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“Instead, I’d like to turn the focus back to racial inequality in the UK, and so am fundraising for Colours Youth Network.
“Colours Youth Network supports young Black and people of colour who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex (QTIBPOC) to explore and celebrate who they are through meaningful connections to other young people and a team of experienced QTIBPOC youth workers.
"Their vision is to ensure that across the UK every LGBT+ young person of colour has access to a local provision and support that is led by LGBT+ people of colour.
"I will not stand for homophobic defamation"
In her original statement shared to Twitter last night, Crystal said: "On Sunday, I criticised Laurence Fox for his views regarding Sainsburys celebrating Black History Month and their commitment to making positive steps towards racial equality.
"While I am very wary of corporate virtue signalling, the fact remains that we do NOT live in a society that is equal. Incarceration rates, mortality rates during childbirth, and death rates related to COVID being some of the more obvious examples of the ways in which Black people and other ethnic minorities are treated as lower-class citizens in this country.
"I suggest anyone that truly cares about racial inequality should welcome steps a corporation takes to attempt to address it (while yes, perhaps remaining critical of their motivations, or holding them to account in other areas), rather than calling for a boycott.
"In response to my criticism on Sunday, Mr Fox seriously defamed me, and I have instructed Mark Lewis of Patron Law to sue on my behalf.
"I will not stand for racism when I see it, and I will not stand for homophobic defamation when it is directed at me. An accusation of paedophilia is one of the oldest homophobic tropes, and it was very shocking to have that levelled at me, not just by Mr Fox, but also his many followers who believed him.
"I may have had to endure homophobic bullying as a child, but I will not tolerate it as an adult.
"Thank you so much to everyone who has voiced their support."
Here we go. pic.twitter.com/jLE2jTOdOn— Crystal | Black Lives Matter (@crystalwillseeu) October 6, 2020
"Anyone who does not want to shop with an inclusive retailer is welcome to shop elsewhere"
Supermarket brand Sainsbury's original tweet, posted on 1 October, said: “We are proud to celebrate Black History Month together with our Black colleagues, customers and communities and we will not tolerate racism.
“We proudly represent and serve our diverse society and anyone who does not want to shop with an inclusive retailer is welcome to shop elsewhere."
What a mess. What a racist twat. https://t.co/I4cXzZRdZk— Simon Blake (@Simonablake) October 4, 2020
Fox responded by saying: "Dear @sainsburys I won’t be shopping in your supermarket ever again whilst you promote racial segregation and discrimination. I sincerely hope others join me. RT #BoycottSainsburys."
"What a mess. What a racist t***"
After being called out for his views by Crystal and Blake, among others, Fox replied on Twitter using the aforementioned slur.
For example, when Blake said of Fox "What a mess. What a racist t***", Fox reportedly replied: "Pretty rich coming from a paedophile".
Blake replied asking Fox: "Please would you remove this tweet as you know it to be untrue. Thanks."
Blake also tweeted: "Seems that Mr Fox may have mixed me up with someone else so for the avoidance of doubt I am 46 from Cornwall and I have lived in Cornwall, Cardiff and London."
I detest racism. Challenging it is important to me, but I will choose my words more carefully in future. I want to be the best ally I can to people impacted by racism. pic.twitter.com/QhQgkCZBLB— Simon Blake (@Simonablake) October 5, 2020
"I disagreed strongly with his view"
Fox did not initially delete the tweet, and speaking out on Monday, Blake tweeted: "On Sunday afternoon I saw a tweet from Laurence Fox suggesting that he would stop shopping in Sainsbury's and calling on others to do the same. This was his reaction to Sainsbury's statement that they are an inclusive retailer.
"He suggested that Sainsbury's actively anti-racist stance is promoting racial segregation and discrimination.
"I disagreed strongly with his view and I expressed that in a tweet. Whilst I regret the unnecessary language I used, which is not in line with the way I like to conduct myself, I feel strongly about this issue.
"In response Mr Fox seriously defamed me and I have instructed Mark Lewis from Patron Law to sue for defamation.
"I want to make it absolutely clear that I will always stand against racism and will do my best to be a strong White ally.
"This is particularly important because we know the negative impact that racism and oppression has on the mental health and wellbeing of Black people and People of colour."
"I have deleted the tweets posted yesterday"
The tweets in question from Fox have now been deleted.
Addressing the row, Fox tweeted on Monday: "If the game nowadays is to throw baseless insults and accusations about, then we should all be free to participate.
"Having said that, I have deleted the tweets posted yesterday, in response to being repeatedly, continuously and falsely smeared as a racist, as they just serve as a distraction to the important work that needs to be done."
Attitude has approached Laurence Fox for comment.
(Top pictures: BBC/ITV)