Ralph Fiennes Sparks Debate With Trigger Warning Conversation

Ralph Fiennes pictured on Sunday's edition of Laura Kuenssberg
Ralph Fiennes pictured on Sunday's edition of Laura Kuenssberg

Ralph Fiennes pictured on Sunday's edition of Laura Kuenssberg

Ralph Fiennes is at the centre of debate following his appearance on Laura Kuenssburg’s BBC show over the weekend.

On Sunday, the former Harry Potter star – who is currently starring in a new production of Macbeth – raised eyebrows on social media when he shared his take on trigger warnings being included before live theatrical performances.

“I think they have, yes,” he began, when asked if modern audiences have “gone too soft”. “We didn’t used to have trigger warnings.

“There are very disturbing scenes in Macbeth, terrible murders and things, but I think the impact of theatre should be that you’re shocked, and you should be disturbed. I don’t think you should be prepared for these things. And when I was young, we never had trigger warnings for [live] shows.”

When the host questioned if Ralph would “get rid” of trigger warnings before live theatre, he added: “I would yes. I mean, I think things like strobe effects and things that might affect people physically they should be notified

“But… Shakespeare’s plays are full of murders and full of horror, and as a young student and lover of the theatre, I never experienced trigger warnings… the shock [should be], ‘oh my god, this thing is happening’.

“Theatre has to be alive and connect in the present! It’s the shock, it’s the unexpected, that’s what makes an act of theatre so exciting!”

After a clip of Ralph’s interview was shared on X (formerly Twitter), many users took issue with his remarks, pointing out not just the practical use of trigger wanings, but also that content warnings have been commonplace in other media for decades…

Elsewhere in his interview, Ralph discussed the continuously rising prices of live theatre tickets, as well as his feelings on renewable energy.

The British performer is a two-time Oscar nominee thanks to his roles in Schindler’s List and The English Patient, and won a Tony in 1995 for his leading performance in Hamlet.