Minor Thesp Laurence Fox has wasted no time in capitalising on his appearance last Thursday on BBC Question Time, proclaiming to anyone who will listen that even if he is white and privileged, he is the victim of something called “wokeness”, which we are told is a Very Bad Thing Indeed. His problem is that, although many in our free and fearless press enjoy a little race baiting now and then, they also need clicks and sales.
So it was that the Mail’s website reported on his appearance with self-promoting TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley Dooda yesterday: “Actor Laurence Fox said this morning that 'woke' people are 'fundamentally racist' and blasted the singer Lily Allen for telling him to stick to acting”. He told Ms Hartley Dooda “that the country is tired of being told it's racist”.
There was more. “The musician also slammed 'woke' culture … Fox said that it was the woke who are actually guilty of racism against the white people they accuse … ’What they are accusing you of is what they are,' he said. 'They are everything they accuse you of. The wokist are fundamentally racist.' He added: 'Identity politics is extremely racist.’” Ignorance is strength. Anti-racism is racism. Right is left. Wibble. Hatstand.
But sadly, Mail Online also noticed that Fox had sat down with James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole for a podcast last week, and made a discovery that may prove highly embarrassing. The headline, “Actor Laurence Fox slams Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes over 'incongruous' Sikh soldier in blockbuster movie 1917 as he says 'forcing diversity on people' is 'institutionally racist’”, gives a rather large clue.
So what has The Great Man said this time? “Laurence Fox has risked sparking further controversy by criticising Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes for including a Sikh soldier in his World War I drama 1917 … [he] questioned the credibility of the film's storyline and what he describes as the 'incongruous' inclusion of a Sikh soldier, Sepoy Jondalar, played by Nabhaan Rizwan, in the ranks of British forces”. Do go on.
“This, says Fox, causes 'a very heightened awareness of the colour of someone's skin' because of 'the oddness of the casting’ … Speaking on writer James Delingpole's podcast, Fox, until recently best known as the star of ITV drama Lewis, adds: 'It's like, 'There were Sikhs fighting in this war' . . . OK, you're now diverting me away from what the story is. There is something institutionally racist about forcing diversity on people in that way.’”
But it was nothing personal. "Fox emphasises that his observations are no reflection on the quality of Rizwan's performance … 'He's great in it,' he says, before arguing that having a Sikh appear in the British Army 'did sort of flick me out of what is essentially a one-shot film [because] it's just incongruous with the story’”. A Sikh in World War 1? Incongruous?
As the BBC has reported, “Approximately 1.3 million Indian soldiers served in World War One, and over 74,000 of them lost their lives … It was Indian jawans (junior soldiers) who stopped the German advance at Ypres in the autumn of 1914 … while the British were still recruiting and training their own forces … Nearly 700,000 Indian sepoys (infantry privates) fought in Mesopotamia against the Ottoman Empire, Germany's ally, many of them Indian Muslims taking up arms against their co-religionists in defence of the British Empire”
And Sikhs. But their heroism has offended Laurence Fox. Who’s not really racist.
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