UK broadcaster and comedian Jonathan Ross has stepped down as the host of the Hugo sci-fi Awards following a hate campaign by sci-fi fans on Twitter.
The organisers of LonCon3, the 2014 World Science Fiction convention, announced on Saturday that Ross, who is known for his outspoken sense of humour, would be presenting the leading sci-fi awards ceremony, which awards the best science fiction or fantasy works of the previous year.
The announcement provoked a barrage of criticism on Twitter, with many sci-fi fans questioning the decision to hire Ross due to his history of making controversial comments.
Twitter user Kate Keen tweeted: "LonCon3 have announced Jonathan Ross as Hugo Awards host. I'm seriously reconsidering my attendance". Another commented: "Having Jonathan Ross host the Hugo Awards guaranteed to divide SF fandom along existing faultlines. What were they thinking?"
Another user tweeted:
Ross replied that he would buy the ticket and "give it to someone less stupid".
However, after fruitlessly defending himself against accusations ranging from sexism to racism and misogyny, Ross announced he would step down on Twitter:
Ross is known to be a big fan of science-fiction, and has written and published comic books. His wife, Jane Goldman, is known for co-writing the screenplays of films such as X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass and Stardust. Some fans have suggested that she might make the better host.
Ross is thought to have volunteered to host the Hugos without a fee out of his love for the genre, and the organisers clearly believed that having the famous chat-show host and presenter of the UK Comedy Awards would raise the profile of the genre.
In the wake of Ross's decision to withdraw, Twitter filled with messages of support and regret.