Laurence Fox sued by Stonewall gay rights charity boss over Sainsbury’s racism row
Simon Blake, the deputy chair of LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall has announced that he is suing Laurence Fox over a comment he’d made in a Twitter row over supermarket Sainbury’s.
Fox rowed with multiple users on the site over the weekend after telling his 241,000 Twitter followers that he planned to boycott the supermarket chain over their public support of Black History Month.
The actor shared Sainsbury’s tweet about its support of the observance, saying he would be boycotting the store and refusing to shop there ever again.
Blake, to his 16,000 followers wrote in response to Fox “What a mess. What a racist t***” and others – including Coronation Street actress Nicola Thorp, who has 52,000 followers – criticised Fox for his post about Sainsbury’s.
The Lewis actor hit back posting to Blake: “Pretty rich coming from a paedophile.”
Mr Blake then asked Fox to ‘please remove’ the ‘untrue’ comment and when he did not comply, the charity boss said he will be taking legal action.
In a statement, Mr Blake explained his plans to sue Fox, 42, for defamation over the tweet.
He shared: “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.”
Fox, the former husband of Billie Piper, has deleted his messages.
He told his followers on Sunday: “I have deleted the tweets posted yesterday, in response to being repeatedly, continuously and falsely smeared as a racist.”
Responding to reports Mr Blake plans to sue, a spokesperson for the actor told the Mail Online: “We note the stated intention and the judicious wording of the tweet.
“However, unless and until intent becomes reality, we have no further comment.”
The row was sparked when Fox accused Sainsbury’s of promoting ‘racial segregation and discrimination’ when the supermarket giant announced to its 570,000 Twitter followers that it had launched online support groups for black colleagues in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as running mentoring circles and awareness days within its network.
A tweet from the supermarket’s official Twitter account said they would 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,” they shared.
Fox took issue with the sentiment and said he’d never shop there again.
In a message addressed to the chain, he said: “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”
He followed this up with: “Further reading here,” alongside a link to the Sainsbury’s website explaining why they are supporting Black History Month.
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s told Mirror Online: “At Sainsbury’s we strive to be an inclusive retailer where people love to work and shop. Earlier in the year we created online support groups for black colleagues across the business.
“These ‘safe spaces’ helped our black colleagues come together, share their experiences and support one another. We represent and serve our diverse society and are proud to be celebrating Black History Month with our colleagues and customers.”
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