Comedian John Cleese cancelled an appearance at his alma mater Cambridge University after an art historian was “blacklisted” for impersonating Adolf Hitler during a speech.
Cambridge Union President Keir Bradwell “blacklisted” Andrew Graham-Dixon after he characterized Hitler during a debate, in an attempt to persuade an audience “that bad taste and bad morality often go hand-in-hand.”
Bradwell apologized for not stopping the debate he had been moderating and condemned Graham-Dixon’s “deeply insensitive impression” and “grotesque language” in an open letter on Facebook.
“We will create a blacklist of speakers never to be invited back, and we will share it with other unions too. Andrew will be on that list,” he wrote. When Cleese learned about the controversy, he cancelled himself for a similar impression he did in the past.
“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,” he said in a tweet. “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 wrote in a follow-up.
Bradwell is trying to get the “Monty Python” star to reconsider. “We were really looking forward to hosting John here. It would have been a really fantastic event and our members are really excited to hear from him,” he said in a statement.
“The documentary he is making is extremely topical,” Bradbury noted of the comedian’s upcoming film, “Cancel Me,” which ironically is about cancel culture. “We very much hope that we will be able to host him at some point – he’s the kind of speaker that would thrive with our audience and in our room.”
Graham-Dixon has apologized for his satirization of Hitler. “In my speech I caricatured him (Hitler), briefly, paraphrasing HIS crass and insensitive statements about art and race,” he commented.
“I apologise sincerely to anyone who found my debating tactics and use of Hitler’s own language distressing; on reflection I can see that some of the words I used, even in quotation, are inherently offensive,” he concluded.