Jessica Ellis
January 16, 2016 12:35 pm

In the wake of British actor Alan Rickman’s death, there’s been an understandable outpouring of grief and sympathy. The late-blooming movie star, who didn’t get his first major film roles until his mid-40s, seems by all accounts to have also been a marvelous human being, and so perhaps understandably some are feeling quite protective of his memory at the moment.

Thus when Channel 4 News interviewer Jon Snow (not that one, guys, calm down) interviewed Richard Wilson, a close theater friend of Rickman’s, a particular question seems to have struck a nerve. In the interview, Snow asked Wilson if he knew the actor was dying, since his cancer was kept largely secret. Wilson said he did, then Snow followed up by saying, “So it wasn’t a question of ‘I don’t believe it’ then?”

Wilson laughs at the remark, but it seems that many fans of the late actor found it an unsympathetic question. A bit of context that may make the reactions set in: “I don’t believe it,” was the trademark line of one of Wilson’s famous characters, Victor Meldrew, from the play One Foot In the Grave. Bringing up the line, it seems, is what some viewers had a problem with.

Jon Snow, a great fan of the late actor, took steps to quickly respond to the criticism on social media, nipping the situation in the bud. UK fans offended by the segment quickly accepted his apology. News outlets also jumped on the story, making Snow’s apology the headline.

In the age of instant viewer reactions, it can be hard for anyone talking off the cuff to know what will be judged as rude or politically incorrect. In the wake of a tragedy like Rickman’s death, however, perhaps erring on the side of extreme politeness is the way to go. Kudos to Snow for handling the incident with a fast response and class.

(Image via Twitter.)

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