Lily Allen has reflected upon the way in which she she ‘apologised on behalf of the UK’ in 2016 after witnessing the appalling conditions for child refugees in the Calais ‘jungle‘ – and the aftermath of ‘violent threats she received.
Allen was appearing on the BBC for Victoria Derbyshire’s show when she met children staying at the migrant ‘jungle’. Among the 1,000 youngsters living there without parents, Allen met with a 13-year-old boy who fled Afghanistan where he says ‘the Taliban were trying to kill me’. After he unveiled the extent of his ordeal and that he would try to smuggle his way into the UK after authorities would take too long to process his move, the ‘Smile’ singer broke down in tears and said: “At three points in your life [the UK] has put you in danger. We bombed your country, put you in the hands of the Taliban, and now put you in danger of risking your life to get into our country. I apologise on behalf of my country, for what we’ve put you through.”
Now in her new memoir My Thoughts Exactly, Allen has written that while her phrasing may have been ‘foolish’, her intentions remained pure and ‘without any agenda’.
“It was a clumsy thing to say,” wrote Allen. “I wanted to say, ‘I’m sorry,’ and I wanted to acknowledge that I was part of the problem, and that we are all part of the problem if we don’t do more to help. The words came out badly, and for that I felt foolish. I was embarrassed about putting it like that.
“I can be a moron. But my intentions were straightforward and without any agenda. I just wanted to help, in whatever tiny way I could.”
She added: “I got a lot of stick about my visit to Calais. I’ve always been trolled and bullied on social media, but after Calais the online bullying I experienced went off the charts. People jumped to conclusions and made assumptions about everything I said: when I said, for example, that I believed our invasion of Iraq was wrong, they accused me of slandering the Armed Forces as a whole.
“People wrote in violent terms about what they’d like to do to me and what I deserved. They often included my kids when they discussed dishing out my punishments. I minded all that.”
The book also sees Allen hit out at the ‘trolls and bullies’ who hijack her on social media to send hateful and abusive messages, adding: “I don’t want to be silent. Women have been silenced for millennia.”
Lily Allen on tour
Allen’s upcoming UK and Ireland tour dates in support of her acclaimed and Mercury nominated 2018 album ‘No Shame‘ are below. Tickets are available here.
Tuesday December 11 2018 – DUBLIN Olympia Theatre
Thursday December 13 2018 – GLASGOW Barrowland
Friday December 14 2018 – BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute
Sunday December 16 2018 – MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Monday December 17 2018 – LONDON Roundhouse