Rupert Everett likens social media to ‘the Stasi’


Actor and director Rupert Everett has criticised attacks on free speech by anyone who does not hold a particular narrow view of the world.

Everett likened the current climate where people can be subjected to a Twitter pile-on at any moment to the communist regime in East Germany.

The 61-year-old described some social media users as “judgmental, sanctimonious, intransigent, intractable, invisible cauldron of hags around in the virtual world”.

The actor first found fame playing a gay public school pupil in 1984 drama Another Country, while his other roles include My Best Friend’s Wedding and Shakespeare In Love.

Graham Norton Show – London
Graham Norton Show – London

Everett was speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival to promote the latest volume of his biography, To The End Of The World.

Reflecting on the changes he has seen in his lifetime, Everett said: “We’re in such a weird new world, a kind of Stasi it feels like to me, and if you don’t reflect exactly the right attitude, you risk everything just being destroyed for you by this judgmental, sanctimonious, intransigent, intractable, invisible cauldron of hags around in the virtual world.”

Asked to reflect on his legacy, Everett, who is gay, said he was born “illegal” because homosexuality was not legalised in the UK until 1967.

“My age group, we’ve been through such a weird spectrum, as a gay person you know I was born illegal if I was gay in 1967,” he said.

“That whole movement of the 1970s in London and in New York was so incredible and the 1980s was so weird with Mrs Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and Aids.

“Blair’s Britain, which now seems like Camelot, to me really and it did at the time actually.

“London was like from 1993, 1995 to 2004 was really quite … the change that came about was really amazing.

“Then coming to this, the kind of retraction back to Camp Coffee and endless paperwork and everything going wrong and kind of back to being a soon-to-be-bankrupt Banana Republic.

“It’s just an extraordinary journey and to survive it or to ever have any type of legacy, I think, will be miraculous actually because no-one can remember anything.

“I don’t know about legacy; I think when you croak now things are moving too fast. No-one knows how to celebrate anything that isn’t happening right now.”

Everett said that after initial early acting success with Another Country, his career stalled and he found the showbusiness world very tough, including being blanked by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

“I knew I was dead then,” he said.

He also said he found it difficult to get a break when he switched to directing.

“I wasn’t the right type of gay, the wrong type of gay at the wrong time, as usual, typical me,” he said.

“The right type of gay at the wrong time. Now I don’t think I’m the right type of gay. I thought finally being gay is the card you can wave but I’m not sure if I’m the right type of queen now.”

Asked by interviewer Emma Freud why, Everett replied: “Well, I’m not sure. I don’t know why, really.”