It’s a tough time to be an Old Etonian. Just ask Damian Lewis. The Homeland actor has suggested in the past that his private education often proves to be more of a curse than a blessing — asking in a recent Sunday Times interview: ‘do those people succeed in spite of it or because of it?’
It turns out that he may be onto something. Lewis is facing an anti-Eton backlash in north London after he agreed to help out a school in his local area. The actor is set to switch on lights at a laser show at Acland Burghley School — in Tufnell Park — on Wednesday night.
Alas a number of local residents were upset to learn that an Old Etonian would be switching on the lights at the state school’s anniversary event. The Hampstead & Highgate Express reports that they have started a petition in protest, calling for Lewis to be replaced by one of the comprehensive’s former alumni — who include the rapper Ms Dynamite. Rachel Cohen — a City University sociology lecturer — wrote on the petition that Lewis’s private school education means he is an unsuitable choice:
‘Damian Lewis, was educated at Eton a school that, more than any other, represents the reproduction of privilege and inequality in the UK.
We have nothing against him as an actor or local resident, but he is a wholly inappropriate choice for this celebration of a wonderful local comprehensive school.’
While the school’s head teacher is sticking by Lewis as the preferred choice, Miss S suspects the actor may soon come to regret ever volunteering to do the good deed in the first place.