Emilia Clarke is most often recognized for her role as Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons, in Game of Thrones. The actress spent eight seasons with the show, becoming one of the most recognizable characters in television history. The upcoming spinoff to the hit HBO series, House of the Dragon, recently had its Australian premiere, and everything was set for a perfect evening of dragon-riding greatness. However, the debut didn’t go quite as planned when Australian CEO Patrick Delany called the actress a ‘short, dumpy girl’ according to reports from Vanity Fair. They cite the Australian news outlet Crikey as the first to catch the statement during a speech ahead of the screening.
Delany is the CEO of Foxtel, a streaming service and tv provider who have long been the home of Game of Thrones Down Under. According to a press release from 2019, the GOT finale shattered streaming records with the service, accounting for the ‘largest overnight audience in subscription TV history.’ However, despite the show’s success, Delany still felt the need to try and crack jokes ahead of the House of the Dragon premiere, and it failed miserably.
According to Crikey, the CEO was attempting to joke about him being late to the Game of Thrones party, saying, “I was like, ‘What’s this show with the short, dumpy girl walking into the fire?'” Apparently, the joke didn’t stick the landing, and the audience’s reactions were awkward, to say the least. Crikey had one attendee tell the outlet, ‘It felt like he was expecting us to laugh along, but people in the room were obviously shocked by it.’ And another saying, ‘there was a bit of a gasp,’ after Delany made his speech.
Foxtel Apologizes on Behalf of The CEO
Foxtel was surely sent into chaos following the CEO’s remarks, and the company was likely worried about any future deals with House of the Dragona series that will be another streaming giant. Following the speech at the premiere, a Foxtel spokesperson would release a statement trying to clarify what Patrick Delany said.
“The aim was to convey that for him, Game 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. On behalf of Mr. Delany, the Foxtel Group apologizes if his remarks were misunderstood and caused any offense.”