Clarke starred in Game of Thrones with House of the Dragon serving as a prequel series.
Addressing media at the event in Sydney, Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany referred to Clarke’s lead character Daenerys Targaryen, saying he was initially bemused when he first started watching Game of Thrones. “I was like, ‘What’s this show with the short, dumpy-looking girl who walks into the flames?’”
His comments were reportedly met with gasps at the event and sparked outrage after they went went viral around the world.
A Foxtel spokesperson has since apologised for Delany’s comments, claiming it was an attempt at self-deprecating humour.
“On behalf of Mr Delany, the Foxtel Group apologises if his remarks were misunderstood and caused any offence,” the spokesperson told Crikey, who broke the story.
Insisting Delany’s comments were meant to be “self-deprecating and lighthearted”, the apology continued, intending to convey the idea that Game of Thrones had taken a previously unknown actress and catapulted her into the international spotlight.
“Emilia Clarke went from relatively unknown to one of the most recognised and most-loved actors in television and film,” the spokesperson said.
Clarke, 35, does not appear in the new show and was not present at the event where the remarks were made.
The Standard has contacted a representative for Emilia Clarke for comment.
House of the Dragon will premiere in the UK on Sky Atlantic and NOW on August 22.