Monty Python Actor John Cleese Blacklists Himself for Freedom of Speech

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Monty Python Actor John Cleese Blacklists Himself for Freedom of Speech

The face of Monty Python responded to reports that the society was building a blacklist of unwanted guests. That followed a performance early this week by art historian and television producer Andrew Graham-Dixon. While presiding over a debate, he recited a speech by Adolf Hitler on art, indicating that “bad taste and bad morality often go hand in hand.”

Under pressure from fellow students who felt hurt, Cambridge Union president Keir Bradwell decided to put Graham-Dixon first on a blacklist to be created. The art historian was amazed. Graham-Dixon told the BBC that he had just attacked Hitler’s racism and anti-Semitism. Former Union chairman Andrew Lownie called the list “Stalinist.”

Monty Python-sketch

Cleese announced via Twitter that he was canceling his visit to his alma mater. “I was looking forward to speaking with Cambridge Union students this Friday,” he wrote, “but I heard that someone has been blacklisted for impersonating Hitler. Sorry to say I did something similar in a Monty Python sketch, so I’m blacklisting myself before anyone else does.”

After Cleese’s intervention, the Cambridge Union announced that there will be no blacklist after all. Bradwell said freedom of speech is paramount. This freedom is increasingly being discussed at British universities. Earlier this year, Rowan Atkinson, who, like Cleese, had his first stage experience in Cambridge, compared ‘cancel culture’ to medieval mobs looking for people to burn.

Recently, the University of Sussex made headlines after philosopher and feminist Kathleen Stock resigned after feeling intimidated by students. This professor has since found a job at The University of Austin, which is known for its freedom of expression. The co-founder of this American university is Niall Ferguson, the well-known historian who is married to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

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