Stephen Fry said he was portrayed as the "antichrist" after he was apparently quoted claiming the only reason women slept with men is that "sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship".
The Observer said the "uncharacteristically extreme comments... denote a marked break in tone from a man whose public schtick tends towards inoffensive charm and gently upmarket wit".
It said the remarks are "likely to be roundly dismissed by those who have embraced the idea of women's ability to have unemotional, uncommitted sex as an empowered lifestyle choice".
Fry, 53, used his favourite medium, micro-blogging site Twitter, to offer his response, posting: "So some paper misquotes a humorous interview I gave, which itself misquoted me and now I'm the Antichrist. I give up."
Shortly afterwards, the broadcaster and writer, who has almost two million followers, added the simple message: "Bye bye."
Fry's magazine article comments set the Twittersphere alight. Danny Mercer wrote: "I love Stephen Fry but WHAT comments to make. I'm willing to accept he was misquoted but ... how badly can you be misquoted?! Daft."
And Elise Hewett said: "If he was misquoted then I'd like to hear what he really meant, if not then my opinion of Stephen Fry has dropped dramatically."
The Observer was quoting Fry from an interview he gave to gay magazine Attitude in which he is reportedly said: "If women liked sex as much as men, there would be straight cruising areas in the way there are gay cruising areas... It doesn't happen. Why? Because the only women you can have sex with like that wish to be paid for it."
Matthew Todd, editor of Attitude magazine, told the Guardian: "I'd be rich if I had £1 for every time a straight bloke has said they wished they could have casual sex as easily as (they presume) gay men do.
"Stephen Fry wasn't making any judgment about that, or saying it was a good or a bad thing, he was just pondering why that may be. It sounds harsh taken out of a long interview in which he talked about a multitude of other things."