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John Cleese divides Twitter with Trump 'suicide' joke

Monty Python star defended after being accused of going ‘step too far’

Jacob Stolworthy
Saturday 07 November 2020 12:21
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Trump aides staging 'intervention' to tell him he has lost

John Cleese has divided Twitter after posting a suicide joke about Donald Trump.

The Monty Python star shared his views on the US presidential election, which has now seen Joe Biden overtake Trump in numerous key states.

The incumbent president has repeatedly made unfounded claims that illegal votes have been counted since Tuesday (3 November).

It has also been reported that Trump's campaign team called Fox News head Rupert Murdoch to complain about the network’s decision to declare Joe Biden the winner in Arizona.

The president and his senior staff were said to be so enraged by the move that they attempted to get its owner to drop its formal projection for Biden.

Fox News is typically supportive of Trump and, in seeming reference to the reports, Cleese, 81, tweeted: "I suspect Trump’s been dead for two days at least. Probably shot himself when Murdoch dumped him."

However, immediately after sending the post, many criticised Cleese with some accusing him of going too far.

"I love your stuff sir, but I think this went a step too far. Suicide is not to be joked about, not even for Trump," one person wrote, to which the Fawlty Towers actor responded: Then how about Hitler? That's worth a giggle, surely."

In reply, another tweeter added: “If the intent is to prevent suicide and make it more accessible for people to get help, making the topic taboo, even to joke about, is doing more harm than good.”

Cleese clapped back: “I don't think taboo subjects really benefit anyone, do they?”

Several others, some of whom said they have had past experience with the subject of suicide, defended Cleese’s joke.

For confidential support with mental health or suicidal feelings, you can contact The Samaritans on their free, 24-hour phone support by calling 116 123 or emailing jo@samaritans.org.

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