Caitriona Balfe has defended herself after being slammed for making only a virtual appearance at Outlander’s world premiere party.
The award nominated Belfast actress, who plays the beloved Claire Fraser in the Starz time-traveling hit series alongside Sam Heughan, is due to appear at a big fan event in London’s Royal Festival Hall tonight (Thursday, February 24).
There is a red carpet extravaganza with the series’ stars, before a screening of the 90-minute first episode ‘Echoes’ and then a live panel with cast and producers, moderated by Edith Bowman.
The red carpet event will be streamed live on the Outlander Starz Facebook page while the panel, for those not lucky enough to be there, will be made available on YouTube after the March 6 premiere.
While Sam, who plays Jamie Fraser in the series, will be physically on the red carpet alongside Sophie Skelton, Richard Rankin, Maril Davis, and creator Diana Gabaldon, Caitríona, who has a young baby to look after at home, can only make it virtually, while Matthew B. Roberts also will attend virtually.
After fans hit out at her for not physically attending she replied on Twitter: “To all those saying it’s shameful I’m not there in person, I understand you’re disappointed but I also ask for some understanding as a new mom.
“I’m trying to do the best I can and not being able to fly across the world like I used to is a change but we are adapting….”
She added: “I’ll be there virtually for red carpet and panel and it’s not Outlander_STARZ’s fault … We’re all trying to give you all the best experience we can in new and challenging circumstances.”
Some fans were appreciative saying: “I’m completely behind Cait on this one. Look at it this way, she has a very young baby, we’re still in the midst of a pandemic… Why would she want to put herself or her family at greater risk? Not only that but in a UK setting, she would still be on maternity leave.”
Another added: “New baby. You don’t get why she wouldn’t want to either leave the baby home for fly with baby? Even in normal times let alone now?. Get over yourself and try to figure out what empathy is. “
However others remained unhappy with one saying: “”Can’t believe this ! We have waited 2 years and the lead actress is not attending the RC in person? This is a joke, yes? Lauren and Ceasar are also not attending?
And another complained: “Lack of respect with fans where the main actress doesn’t even bother to go to the event in person. 7 years following up to do this joke after 2 years with nothing.”
And a further explained: We are just disappointed. Sam is so great when in a panel with Cait. It makes a lot of difference when she is there in person. I think we are jealous that she is going to the red carpet & she would not have made it without her fans. It was such a shock to us.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.