John Cleese to complain to BBC about ‘deception’ of interview on cancel culture

The ‘Monty Python’ actor said a BBC journalist tried to portray him as ‘old-fashioned’ and ‘basically harmful’

Maanya Sachdeva
Friday 17 December 2021 15:22
Comments
John Cleese 'blacklists' himself over old Hitler impersonation

John Cleese has said he will be putting in a formal complaint about the “deception, dishonesty and tone” of a recent BBC interview he took part in.

In a series of tweets on Thursday (16 December), the Monty Python star claimed that a BBC journalist had tried to portray him as “old-fashioned, uncaring and basically harmful” in the interview.

He alleged that he was asked about “cancel culture” during the conversation, which was was supposed to be about his forthcoming comedy shows in Singapore and Bangkok.

“I replied courteously and in full I explained that if parents were over protective, it did not prepare children well when they entered the real and often not-very-nice world,” Cleese continued.

Then, Cleese claimed that the interviewer asked him a “disjointed question, clearly trying to portray me as old-fashioned, uncaring and basically harmful”.

The 81-year-old said he told the journalist “her question was a poor one” but that he addressed one of the “many points” it appeared to cover, anyway.

Cleese further alleged his response had been “totally ignored” by the interviewer, who had then asked him about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the newly discovered omicron variant, and Dave Chappelle – topics Cleese claims he had not agreed to comment on prior to the interview.

“I removed my headphones, saying that this was not the interview I had agreed to,” he wrote on Twitter. “The BBC needs to train her again.”

A spokesperson for the BBC told The Independent: “This was a fair and appropriate interview which touched on topics that John Cleese has previously been vocal about as well as themes within his new tour. Our presenter is an excellent and experienced journalist who conducted the interview entirely within our editorial guidelines.”

Access unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime Video Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

In his tweets, Cleese also said: “The media will no doubt report that I ‘stormed out.’ I didn’t. Nor did I lose my temper. But I was depressed that this kind of presenter-ego crap is so prevalent now.”

Last month the comedian “blacklisted himself” from the Cambridge Union debating society after a historian who impersonated Adolf Hitler during a society debate was banned.

It was announced in August that the actor and writer is also due to present a Channel 4 documentary about “cancel culture” in comedy, titled John Cleese: Cancel Me.

Additional reporting from Press Association

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in