Stephen Fry has quit Twitter following backlash over his poorly-received “bag lady” comment at the Bafta awards.

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry

The awards host was hit with abuse when he remarked of Jenny Beavan, who won the Bafta for costume design for Mad Max: Fury Road: “Only one of the great cinematic costume designers would come to the awards ceremony dressed like a bag lady.”

The Jewish comic and actor deleted his Twitter account on Monday after an expletive-filled rant on Sunday night to the “sanctimonious f******” who had complained on the social media site about his comment.

Fry first explained it was a joke between friends, writing: “So just a word to the tragic figures who think calling Jenny Bevan a bag lady was an insult. She’s a dear friend and she got it. Derrr.”

He then followed up with angrier second tweet: “Will all you sanctimonious f****** f*** the f*** off Jenny Beavan is a friend and joshing is legitimate. Christ I want to leave the planet.”

Fry tweeted a picture of the two at the after party, following a flow of criticism.

Fry tweeted a picture of the two at the after party, following a flow of criticism.

Underlining his point, he shared an image of the two after the Baftas, captioning it: “Jenny Baglady Beavan and Stephen Outrageous Misogynist Swine Fry at the after party.”

Fry was one of the most popular commentators on the social media site, with more than 12 million followers before his account was deleted.

This is the third time he has left the site, after a break in 2014 when he said he was filming in a place “whence I’ve been advised it is safest not to tweet”, and then from February to May last year when he announced he would be “taking a holiday from Twitter”.

Much like his bag lady comment, Fry‘s exit from the site has been met with mixed reaction.

Kristian Carter wrote: “I make this the fifth time that Stephen Fry has flounced off Twitter. Your business is being in the news. Get over yourself, Christ.”

However, a supporter tweeted: “I hope the people who drove Stephen Fry off of Twitter are happy with themselves. Really didn’t deserve the backlash in my opinion.”

Adam Lowes asked why Fry had not simply ignored his detractors.

“It’s also strange that Stephen Fry wouldn’t immediately dismiss and ignore those pious folk. Their grumblings are meaningless. #BagLadyGate,” he wrote.

Fans have now started a Get Stephen Back hashtag.

In March 2015 Stephen Fry quit another social media site, Instagram, telling his fans he was “hounded off” it.

Fry, who had a huge following on social media with 92,000 followers on the picture sharing website alone, said: “Newspapers, as ever, suck all the joy out of everything. Closing down. It was, briefly, fun. Bye.”