Even Apple superfan Stephen Fry isn't happy with its tax affairs

Naturally quotes Benjamin Franklin to give the Cupertino company a gentle scolding...

Even Apple superfan Stephen Fry isn't happy with its tax affairs

Stephen Fry | File photo

Stephen Fry was at the centre of the action as Apple launched the iPhone 7 on Wednesday, but he did take time out from praising the company's innovation to criticise its tax practices.

Referring to the situation which has seen Apple ordered to pay Ireland some €13bn in back taxes, Fry told the BBC:

"I think everybody should pay absolutely the rate of tax that is right."

While he admitted to not knowing "every detail" of the case, he agreed that it seems liable for more than it has been parting with since it set up its Irish base.

Fry being "former QI host" Fry, he gave a typically high-minded reason why he felt so strongly about the issue.

"I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said 'tax is the price we pay for civilisation' and if people are not paying tax, then obviously civilisation falters.

"Our streets don't get lit, there's more crime, everything gets worse.

"So I've absolutely no patience with any of these large companies getting any with such minuscule rates of taxation."

The broadcaster, writer and comedian stuck up for Apple in other regards, however, making the case that its work has even benefitted those who express hatred for the tech giant and arguing that it's given a rougher ride than most companies.

"You can have a perfectly happy life never owning an Apple product," he said. "You will have extraordinary devices doing remarkable things, whether or not you choose to recognise it's because Apple created that ecosystem is irrelevant...

"For some reasons people have this visceral feeling about Apple which is either – as people see in my case –ridiculously pro, or is insanely and irrationally anti. We're both mad, perhaps."

Fry claims to have bought the second Macintosh ever sold in Europe, over three decades ago. The first was sold to his friend – the late, great Douglas Adams.