Stephen Fry, who just last week married his partner Elliot Spencer, has joined a number of celebrities in an attempt to have the names of countless gay British people cleared who were once charged with the former “crime” of homosexuality. He is teaming with Benedict Cumberbatch who played one such person, Allan Turing, in the Oscar nominated “The Imitation Game.”
The son of a Jewish mother whose family fled the Holocaust and settled in England is one of the English language’s most brilliant current writers/satirists and a great actor to boot.
Fry thinks that Turing, whose contribution to England’s victory in World War II is immeasurable because he broke the German Enigma code, should have his image placed on the British 10 Pound Bill. Touring was persecuted and had his accomplishments ignored simply because he was gay.
Turing was pardoned by Queen Elizabeth in 2012, but Fry thinks that it was for the wrong reasons.
“Should Alan Turing have been pardoned just because he was a genius when somewhere between 50 to 70 thousand other men were imprisoned, chemically castrated, had their lives ruined or indeed committed suicide because of the laws under which Turing suffered? There is a general feeling that perhaps if he should be pardoned, then perhaps so should all of those men, whose names were ruined in their lifetime, but who still have families. It was a nasty, malicious and horrific law and one that allowed so much blackmail and so much misery and so much distress. Turing stands as a figure symbolic to his own age in the way that Oscar Wilde was, who suffered under a more but similar one.”
Fry is fighting for a pardon for more than 70, 000 people who were convicted under the same laws as Turing was.
At the same time the actor is leading a campaign to preserve the cultural center of London’s Soho neighborhood. An open letter to the government said, “There is a very real danger that we will erode the creative fabric of Soho past the point we can ever rebuild it.”
It also read, “The square mile of Soho and its surrounds is the most creative in the world. In its way it is at least as important as the square mile in The City.”