Actor and London mayoral candidate Laurence Fox is being sued for libel. The lawsuit comes after he called Coronation Street actress Nicola Thorp, Drag Race UK star Crystal and mental health campaigner and deputy chair of Stonewall Simon Blake “paedophiles” on social media.

The posts from last October came after Fox tweeted about Sainsbury’s marking Black History Month, saying it “promoted racial segregation and discrimination”. He called for a boycott of the supermarket. A number of social media users, including Thorp, Blake and Crystal responded to Fox, which resulted in Fox publishing the posts he is now being sued over.

At the time of the Tweets Crystal referred to an accusation of paedophilia being ‘one of the oldest homophobic tropes’ and confirmed that lawyers were instructed. Blake also confirmed that he has instructed lawyers, expressing regret at the language he used in the Twitter exchange, but making it clear that he would always stand against racism. The legal action was filed on 1 April.

Asked about the lawsuit Fox said he was not aware of it, but defended his comments saying he was called a racist and claiming that calling the three individuals paedophiles was just a meaningless and baseless insult. He said: ‘Free speech. You throw meaningless and baseless insults at someone you get a meaningless and baseless insult in return.’ The Tweets have since been deleted.

Fox’s response has echoes of the defence raised by Tesla and Space-X billionaire Elon Musk, when he was sued for libel in the US in 2019 over calling diver Vernon Unsworth “a pedo guy” on Twitter. Musk said that it was just an insult, common in Musk’s native South Africa. The Los Angeles jury found that Musk had not defamed Unsworth, a diver who was instrumental in rescuing 12 boys who were trapped in a cave in Thailand in 2018.

Fox has been a controversial figure over the past year for his comments against lockdown and Corona virus measures, which he views as ‘tyranny’. He is standing for Mayor of London on a platform against lockdown and political correctness.