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Stephen Fry accused of making inappropriate jokes at cricket dinner

Cricket Club disputes claims the actor made jokes mocking women and Muslims.

Stephen Fry  attends the BFI London Film Festival Luminous Gala at The Londoner Hotel on September 29, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Stephen Fry has been defended by cricket club who say the accusations are 'factually inaccurate'. (Getty Images)

Stephen Fry has been accused of making jokes targeting women and Muslims at a cricket club dinner in London.

The actor and comedian was speaking as president of Marylebone Cricket Club, and the club disputes claims he made offensive jokes during his speech after one member launched an official complaint.

MCC member Chris Waterman, 75, claimed to the Mail on Sunday that the former QI host had said: "I had intended to say 'Good evening, ladies and gentlemen’ but there are no lady members present. I suppose they are off shagging'."

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He also alleged Fry referred to the Allahakbarries, an amateur cricket team founded by the Peter Pan author JM Barrie, quipping "the term 'Allahu akbar', when used today, was usually followed by a loud bang."

However, chief executive and secretary of MCC, Guy Lavender told The Times that Waterman's account “is factually incorrect”.

He added: "The dinner in question was enjoyed by those that attended and we have not received any other complaint from attendees in this regard."

Stephen Fry enjoying the build up to the match during the first day of the 5th Investec Ashes Test between England and Australia at The Kia Oval Cricket Ground, London, United Kingdom. Photo: Visionhaus/Ben Radford (Photo by Ben Radford/Corbis via Getty Images)
Stephen Fry enjoying the build up to the match during the first day of the 5th Investec Ashes Test between England and Australia at The Kia Oval Cricket Ground, London, United Kingdom. Photo: Visionhaus/Ben Radford (Photo by Ben Radford/Corbis via Getty Images)

Other diners at the £90-a-head event told the newspaper what Fry actually said was: "I had intended to say 'Good evening, ladies and gentlemen' but there are no lady members present. Now we can talk about shagging," to mock the underrepresentation of women in the club.

They said they had not heard the Muslim joke.

Waterman said: "The MCC is male, pale, frail and stale. I have been trying to reform it for eight years.

"After the meal, the president called all the serving staff back into the room to thank them.

PA NEWS PHOTO 14/7/98 STEPHEN FRY (LEFT) AND HUGH LAURIE AT A CHARITY CRICKET MATCH IN AID OF MACMILLAN CANCER RELIEF. THE MACMILLAN GARTER MATCH TOOK PLACE AT BURTON'S COURT IN CHELSEA AND WAS FOLLOWED BY A CHAMPAGNE RECEPTION.   (Photo by Peter Jordan - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie at a charity cricket match in 1998. (Getty Images)

"I interrupted and asked him if he would apologise for his earlier comments about women, and he said, 'No, I was referring to women members' and continued speaking."

Referring to the 'Allahu akbar' joke Waterman added: "I am unsure whether there were any Muslims in the room, but even if there were not, this is not an acceptable 'joke' in 2023."

Fry, star of Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster, became president of the Marylebone Cricket Club in 2022.

He has sought to modernise the club, proposing plans to axe the famous Eton-Harrow and Oxbridge Varsity matches at Lords cricket ground. This sparked a backlash from members with over 180 signing a petition to reverse the decision.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 18:  British actor Stephen Fry rings the five minute bell ahead of day two of 2nd Investec Test match between England and India at Lord's Cricket Ground on July 18, 2014 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Stephen Fry rings the five minute bell ahead of the Test match between England and India at Lord's Cricket Ground in 2014. (Getty Images)

Fry said: "It saddens me if people think there’s an element of woke-ism about that, because it’s only about opening the game up as much as possible.

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“I’m not being all woke and wet-blankety. It’s not about banning Eton and Harrow, it’s about opening it up to more schools."

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