Patrick Delany, the CEO of Foxtel, has apologized after calling “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke “short and dumpy” at the “House of the Dragon” premiere in Sydney, Australia.
Delany was talking about how he was late to the HBO hit series, in which Clarke played the powerful Daenerys Targaryen, but struck a nerve when he shared his first reaction to her character: “I was like, ‘What’s this show with the short, dumpy girl walking into the fire?” he said.
Australian news outlet Crikey reports that not only were people offended, but one attendee said “there was a bit of a gasp” after the comment. Another said, “It felt like he was expecting us to laugh along, but people in the room were obviously shocked by it.”
A spokesperson for the company, which aired “Game of Thrones” in Australia, later apologized for Delany’s remark: “The Foxtel Group apologies if his remarks were misunderstood and caused any offense…. 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.”
While this embarrassing gaffe was a terrible way to kick off the new prequel, which follows the House of Taegaryn, he’s lucky that the penalty for refusing to “bend the knee” to Khaleesi — instant death — exists only in the world of the series.
The “Game of Thrones” finale delivered Foxtel’s largest overnight subscription television audience for the platform for 2019’s finale. It will also host the prequel series.
Clarke is not part of the cast of the new series, which debuts on HBO on Sunday, Aug. 21. “House of the Dragon” stars Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke and Milly Alcock were among those at the Sydney premiere.