Bafta host Stephen Fry defends Jenny Beaven ‘bag lady’ joke: “She’s a dear friend and she got it”

"Jenny Beaven is a friend and joshing is legitimate," he explained

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Stephen Fry’s not exactly the shy and retiring type but there were a few gasps inside the Royal Opera House this evening when the Bafta host waved Best Costume Design winner Jenny Beaven off stage by quipping: “Only one of the great cinematic costume designers would come to an awards ceremony dressed as a bag lady.”

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His comments attracted a flurry of criticism from tweeters unaware that Fry and Beaven are actually close friends and that he was – in his words – “joshing” with her…

Some threw out accusations of ruining Jenny’s moment…

Others called Stephen Fry ‘rude’:

The backlash prompted the Baftas host to take to Twitter to explain that “Jenny Beaven is a friend and joshing is legitimate”, before adding:

Fry and Beaven have previously worked together on Gosford Park and Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows. They even posed for a snap at the after party where Fry poked fun at the reaction to his joke…

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The costume designer was one of four Bafta winners for Mad Max: Fury Road which failed to get a single acting nomination but dominated the ceremony’s technical categories.