Damian Lewis Criticized as "Too Privileged" to be Guest at London State School Event

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Damian Lewis

The actor – educated at the exclusive Eton college – was invited to attend the celebrations at a local state school near his home in London, raising the ire of former students who deemed his choice "wholly inappropriate."

He's known for playing characters in the upper echelons of society, including British kings (Wolf Hall) and – most recently – multi-millionaire hedge-fund managers (Billions), but it was Damian Lewis' own privileged background that became the focus of a petition at a London school.

Lewis – who was educated at the U.K.'s exclusive Eton college, alongside Tom Hiddleston, Eddie Redmayne and Prince William – was invited to take part in 50th anniversary celebrations at a comprehensive, state-funded school near his home in north London.

But the move didn't go down well with several former students at Acland Burghley School, who started a petition calling his inclusion a "wholly inappropriate choice."

The petition stated that Lewis was educated at Eton, "a school that, more than any other, represents the reproduction of privilege and inequality in the UK."

Speaking to the BBC, the petition's founder Rachel Cohen pointed out that she had no issues with Lewis himself.

"It's really just about how do you celebrate the anniversary of a really good comprehensive school that has always taken a very radical and socially progressive attitude towards education," she told the news outlet.

Despite the protest, Lewis did turn up to the event on Wednesday, and hit back at the critics by saying they were "missing the point," and that the evening was a "celebration of our community... and the role the school has played here."