Homeland Actor Defends His Attendance At School Celebration The Global Launch Of New Jaguar XE Sport Saloon Full view

Homeland Actor Defends His Attendance At School Celebration

Actor Damian Lewis has spoken out against critics who say he is ‘too privileged’ to have participated in anniversary celebrations at a Camden school.

The Homeland actor – who lives in Tufnell Park where the secondary school is located – was asked by organisers to open a laser show in celebration of the establishment’s 50th anniversary.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 08:  (L to R) David Gandy, Damian Lewis and David Blakeley attend as guests of Jaguar at the global reveal of the new XE in London at Earls Court on September 8, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Jaguar) *** Local Caption *** David Gandy;Damian Lewis;David Blakeley
Actor Damian Lewis 2014 David M. Bennett

But former alumni were unhappy with the choice of guest, starting a petition against the invitation in favour of actual ex-students such as musicians Ms Dynamite and Lee Thompson. Petitioners pinned Lewis as “a wholly inappropriate choice for this celebration”, saying his education at Eton “represents the reproduction of privilege and inequality in the UK”.

Speaking at the event, Lewis joked about his presence in the midst of the controversy, saying: “For those who were hoping to see Eddy Grant or Ms Dynamite I can only give my apologies – I was the only one available.” He later addressed the petition, saying campaigners “miss the point slightly because it seems that this event is about more than that. It’s about celebrating our community and the role the school has played here in Tufnell Park for the last 30 years.”

Lewis was also defended on Twitter by a number of users. Anne Purchase-Walker, who uses the handle @ChiffChaff19 – said: “#AclandBurghley would not like a ‘ no ‘ on the basis of lack of privilege so why no to #DamianLewis?”, while Tom Burges Watson (@Tburgeswatson) commented: “Holding it against someone because they had a good secondary education?! A bizarre form of discrimination. Sad & divisive. #AclandBurghley”.

Nicholas John, headteacher of Acland Burghley, said this event was just one of a number of upcoming celebrations of the school’s anniversary planned over the next year.

Written by Hannah Knight

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