A conservative politician in the U.K. has gone viral after seeming to suggest that calls for women to take on roles originally played by men — like James Bond or Doctor Who — is leaving men without role models, and leading them to commit crime, a point he now disputes.
Conservative MP Nick Fletcher from Doncaster, England, was giving a speech on International Men’s Day, when he made the remarks, which have been shared, and reshared, and reshared again on social media.
“Everywhere, not at least within in the cultural sphere, there seems to be a call from a tiny, yet very vocal, minority that every male character or role model must have a female replacement,” Fletcher said in video posted on Twitter.
“One only needs to look at the discussions surrounding who will play the next James Bond. And it’s not just James Bond. In recent years we have seen Doctor Who, Ghostbusters, Luke Skywalker and The Equalizer all replaced by women, and men are left with The Krays and Tommy Shelby,” he continued, referring to the real life Kray twins (Ronnie and Reggie), whose criminal histories were dramatized on television and film in projects like the double Tom Hardy starring “Legend,” with Shelby being the main character in Netflix series “Peaky Blinders,” about a criminal gang in 1920s Birmingham, England.
Fletcher continued: “Is there any wonder we are seeing so many young men committing crime?”
The MP’s speech has already been viewed several million times, and has been met with a great deal of humor, and even disbelief from members of the public.
“‘Why are these women out of the kitchen’ asks Tory MP *not quite the words he used but in keeping with the sentiment,” @glasgowcathcart responded, mocking Fletcher’s speech.
“Yeah, but think of all the women who were going to be criminals, but are now set on a career travelling through time saving the universe,” Twitter user @EwanHusarmee commented.
Another Twitter user, @FoldUpToys, pointed out that 12 of the 13 Doctor Who actors have been male.
“13th Dr Who is played by a woman :Pleading face HANG ON what about role models?!?” they Tweeted.
“It’s time us men fought back – starting with a remake of Supergran,” user @MichaelJohnCh11 tweeted.
“However did these men cope when the actual authority figure of Prime Minister was recast as a woman?” @benjaminbutter tweeted.
“Do they even know the King is now a QUEEN?!” @zefrog responded.
After his speech went viral, Fletcher posted a statement on Twitter, saying his “rather nuanced point that there are increasingly fewer positive male role models for young boys was almost immediately misconstrued.”
“My point was, in fact, a straightforward one and in no way linked Dr Who being female to crime being committed by men,” he wrote.
You can read his full statement here.