An Australian television company has apologized after its chief executive called actress Emilia Clarke a “chunky little girl” during a premiere this week.
Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany made the startling remark ahead of the screening of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” spin-off series “House of the Dragon” on Tuesday. According to Australian news outlet Crikey, Delany described how he was late to start watching “Game of Thrones,” in which Clarke portrayed Daenerys Targaryen.
“I was like, ‘What the hell is that show with the chunky little girl walking through the fire?'” he reportedly said, referring to Daenerys.
The CEO’s apparent attempt at a joke, however, landed with a thud among the evening’s attendees. “It was like he expected us to laugh,” one attendee told Crikey, “but the people in the room were obviously shocked by it.”
Film critic Travis Johnson, who attended the premiere, echoed that sentiment.
“Yeah, I was there for that, and I turned to my mate for clarification because I just didn’t believe anyone would say that on the mic.” he tweeted.
On Wednesday, a Foxtel spokesperson released a statement attempting to backtrack on Delany’s words.
“The point was to convey that for him, ‘Games of Thrones’ was something very different for television in 2011 and that Emilia Clarke went from relatively unknown to one of the most recognized and beloved actresses. television and film,” the statement read. read, according to The Wrap. “On behalf of Mr. Delany, Foxtel Group apologizes if his remarks were misunderstood and caused any offence.”
Representatives for Clarke did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Clarke does not appear in “House of the Dragon,” which premieres next week on HBO. The 10-episode series is based on George RR Martin’s 2018 novel, “Fire & Blood,” and is set 300 years before “Game of Thrones.”
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