Legendary actor John Cleese has cancelled a talk he was scheduled to give at Cambridge University due to what he called “woke rules” that resulted in another speaker getting blacklisted for doing an impression of Adolf Hitler.
Deadline reported that Cleese’s decision came a week after Cambridge University paper Varsity reported that Union speaker Andrew Graham-Dixon used a German accent to impersonate Hitler, using racial slurs in a videotaped meeting. Graham-Dixon said the act “was meant to be satirical and was not an endorsement of Hitler or anti-Semitism, claiming he had intended to ‘underline the utterly evil nature of Hitler and his regime,’” Deadline reported.
As the outlet noted, Cleese “famously impersonated Hitler while in character as Basil Fawlty in the 1970s sitcom Fawlty Towers.”
Cleese confirmed in a tweet that he had canceled his speech at Cambridge.
“I was looking forward to talking to students at the Cambridge Union this Friday, but I hear that someone there has been blacklisted for doing an impersonation of Hitler,” Cleese wrote. “I regret that I did the same on a Monty Python show, so I am blacklisting myself before someone else does.”
“I apologise to anyone at Cambridge who was hoping to talk with me, but perhaps some of you can find a venue where woke rules do not apply,” Cleese added.
Cleese had planned to give the talk with the Channel 4 crew behind his new documentary series “Cancel Me” in attendance. The new series involves Cleese interviewing victims of cancel culture.
Cleese has been an outspoken opponent of cancel culture and those who have apologized when woke mobs came for them. In April, Cleese mocked Hank Azaria for apologizing over his portrayal of Apu on the Simpsons.
“Not wishing to be left behind by Hank Azaria, I would like to apologise on behalf on (sic) Monty Python for all the many sketches we did making fun of white English people,” Cleese tweeted. “We’re sorry for any distress we may have caused.”
The tweet came after Azaria said he left the role of Apu after some people told him they were offended by the character.
“I was speaking at my son’s school, I was talking to the Indian kids there because I wanted to get their input,” Azaria said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “A 17-year-old … he’s never even seen The Simpsons but knows what Apu means. It’s practically a slur at this point. All he knows is that is how his people are thought of and represented to many people in this country.”
“I really do apologize,” Azaria added. “It’s important. I apologize for my part in creating that and participating in that. Part of me feels like I need to go to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologize. And sometimes I do.”
In July of last year, Cleese took on cancel culture directly, saying it “misunderstands the main purposes of life, which is to have fun.”