Australian TV exec apologizes for calling Game of Thrones ' Emilia Clarke a 'short, dumpy girl'

·3 min read

Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen has been called many things: Mother of Dragons. The Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea. The Unburnt.

But dumpy? That's a first.

The CEO of an Australian television company has apologized after referring to Emilia Clarke, who portrayed Daenerys on HBO's megahit Game of Thrones for eight seasons, as a "short, dumpy girl."

At a screening of the prequel series House of the Dragon on Tuesday, Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany reportedly told the crowd in attendance that he wasn't an early adopter of the fantasy epic based on George R.R. Martin's sprawling novels.

"I was like, 'What's this show with the short, dumpy girl walking into the fire?'" Delany said, according to the Australian news outlet Crikey.

Emilia Clarke on 'Game of Thrones'
Emilia Clarke on 'Game of Thrones'

HBO Emilia Clarke on 'Game of Thrones'

The crowd didn't laugh at his joke, with one attendee telling Crikey, "People in the room were obviously shocked by it."

Film critic Travis Johnson confirmed the remark on social media, tweeting, "Yeah, I was there for this, and turned to my mate for clarification as I simply didn't believe someone would say that on mic."

A day after Delany's remarks, Foxtel released a statement clarifying the incident, telling The Wrap, "The aim 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 most-loved actors in television and film."

The statement concluded with a mea culpa: "On behalf of Mr. Delany, the Foxtel Group apologizes if his remarks were misunderstood and caused any offense."

Representatives for Clarke and Foxtel did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment Thursday.

House of the Dragon is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, which means Clarke, 35, does not appear in the new show. The 10-episode series, based on Martin's 2018 book Fire & Blood, tells the story of the Targaryen empire at the height of its powers, before civil war threw control of the Iron Throne into chaos. (Yes, you'll see plenty of dragons soaring through the skies.)

House of the Dragon stars Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen, Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen, and Milly Alcock and Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen as a teenager and an adult, respectively.

Showrunner Miguel Sapochnik told EW that the potential exists to embrace an anthology model to explore more Westerosi history.

"I think that's one of the interesting things about the Targaryens," said Sapochnik, who co-wrote House of the Dragon. "We've chosen a story that's almost like Star Wars: Episode IV. It's the New Hope. We can go backwards, we can go forwards. There's a lot of opportunities there. I hope we've been given the opportunity to set up something."

House of the Dragon premieres Aug. 21.

Subscribe to EW's West of Westeros podcast, which goes behind the making of House of the Dragon and the growing Game of Thrones universe. The podcast will launch Aug. 21.

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