The CEO of Australian television company Foxtel has sparked outrage after referring to Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke as a ‘short and dumpy girl’ this week. 

Addressing the audience, Delaney admitted he was behind the eight-ball when it came to watching the monumentally popular drama Game of Thrones, in which Emilia stars as Daenerys Targaryen. 

Patrick Delaney made the controversial comments during a speech at the Sydney premiere of HBO’s highly-anticipated series House of the Dragon on Tuesday night, Crikey reports. 

‘I was like, ‘What’s this show with the short, dumpy girl walking into the fire?” he said, recalling the famous scene in season one where Daenerys steps inside a burning temple. 

‘The aim was to convey that for him, Games of Thrones was something very different for television in 2011 and that Emilia Clarke went from relatively unknown to one of the most recognised and most-loved actors in television and film,’ a spokesperson told Crikey on Wednesday. 

An attendee told Crikey that ‘there was a bit of a gasp’ after Delany made the comment, while another said the crowd was ‘obviously shocked’. Foxtel has since issued a grovelling apology on behalf of Delaney, who has been CEO since January 2018.  

‘On behalf of Mr Delany, the Foxtel Group apologises if his remarks were misunderstood and caused any offence.’ House of the Dragon focusses on House Targaryen and their reign in Westeros. 

It also stars Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen, Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, Oliva Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower. 

Emilia will not be reprising her role as Daenerys in the ten-part series, as it is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones. Joining the cast is Packed To The Rafters star Ryan Corr and fellow Australian actor Milly Alcock. 

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