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Emilia Clarke Was Insulted By The CEO Of A Big Television Company: Called “Short, Dumpy Girl” at the House of the Dragon Premiere

A spokesperson later apologized for CEO Patrick Delany’s remark: “The Foxtel Group apologi[z]es if his remarks were misunderstood and caused any offense.”

House of the Dragon had a bit of a rocky takeoff, at least Down Under. At the Sydney premiere for the Game of Thrones prequel series, Patrick Delany, the CEO of Australian television company Foxtel, reportedly made some disparaging remarks about Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke, calling her a “short, dumpy girl.”

Per Australian news outlet Crikey, Delany was delivering a speech ahead of the screening of the first episode of the highly anticipated House of the Dragon. The new series is set roughly two centuries before the events of Game of Thrones and centers on House Targaryen, the ancestors of Clarke’s dragon-taming queen, Daenerys. The Foxtel CEO was reportedly attempting to make a joke about how he was late to jump on the bandwagon for Game of Thrones, which became one of the most popular television shows of all time. 

“I was like, ‘What’s this show with the short, dumpy girl walking into the fire?’” said Delany, according to Crikey.

Crikey reports that Delany’s attempt at humor didn’t land with the audience. One attendee reportedly told the news outlet that “It felt like he was expecting us to laugh along but people in the room were obviously shocked by it.” Another said that “there was a bit of a gasp” after Delany made the comment.

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A spokesperson for Foxtel later said that Delany’s remark was meant to be self-deprecating: “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,” they stated before issuing an apology: “On behalf of Mr. Delany, the Foxtel Group apologi[z]es if his remarks were misunderstood and caused any offense.”

Foxtel has long been an Australian home to Game of Thrones, hosting the series across streaming and cable in that territory. As Crikey notes, according to a Foxtel press release, the 2019 Game of Thrones series finale was responsible for the “largest overnight audience in subscription TV history” for the platform at that time. 

Clarke is not involved in House of the Dragon and can next be seen in the Marvel television series Secret Invasion. House of the Dragon premieres on HBO on Sunday, August 21. 

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