Emilia Clarke called ‘short and dumpy’ by Australian TV CEO

Actress Emilia Clarke arrives at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards at the Royal Opera House in London, February 14, 2016.Reuters

The official Australian premiere of ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel series “House of the Dragon” landed in Sydney this week, but the event immediately turned contentious after Patrick Delany, the CEO of Australian television company Foxtel, referred to Emilia Clarke as a “short, dumpy girl.”

According to Variety, Delany was giving a speech ahead of the “House of the Dragon” premiere screening and tried to make a joke about the first time he watched “Game of Thrones.” The CEO said, “I was like, ‘What’s this show with the short, dumpy girl walking into the fire?’” Delany was referring to Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, who famously walked through fire in the series. According to a witness at the Sydney premiere, “there was a bit of a gasp” after Delany made the remark.

Emilia Clarke
File Photo

After the incident, a Foxtel representative informed Crikey that Delany’s comment was “meant to be self-deprecating.” In a statement, the business said: “The aim was to convey that for him, ‘Games of Thrones’ was something extremely new for television in 2011 and that Emilia Clarke moved from being somewhat unknown to one of the most recognisable and most-loved actors in television and film.

“On behalf of Mr Delany, the Foxtel Group apologies if his remarks were misunderstood and caused any offense,” the statement concluded.

The new HBO prequel series “House of the Dragon” does not involve Clarke in any way because it is set hundreds of years before “Game of Thrones.” 2019 saw Foxtel make the contentious “Game of Thrones” series finale responsible for the biggest overnight subscriber increase in business history. “Game of Thrones” is broadcast on Foxtel in Australia.