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Friday, December 3, 2021

John Cleese blacklists himself from Cambridge University event


John Cleese has cancelled an appearance at Cambridge University after a visiting speaker was banned for a Hitler impression.

The actor, who claimed to have done a similar impression on a Monty Python sketch, stated that he was “blacklisting myself before someone else does.”

The announcement came after The Cambridge Union announced that art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon would not be invited back.

Union president Keir Bradwell said Cleese’s withdrawal was a “huge shame”.

On Twitter Cleese apologised to union members and said: “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.

“I’m sorry for doing the same thing on a Monty Python show, so I’m blacklisting myself before someone else does.” I apologise to anyone who was hoping to meet with me in Cambridge, but perhaps some of you can find a venue where woke rules do not apply.”

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View original tweet on Twitter

According to the PA news agency, Cleese was scheduled to visit the University of Cambridge as part of a documentary on “woke culture.”

Mr Bradwell said it was a “huge shame” that Mr Cleese felt unable to attend, but that his “blacklist” was simply a suggestion to future presidents.

Keir Bradwell, Cambridge Union president, is to oversee a blacklist of speakers

“We were really excited to have John here,” he said.

“It would have been a fantastic event, and our members are eager to hear from him; the documentary he is producing is extremely timely.

“We hope to be able to host him at some point… he’s the type of speaker who would thrive with our audience and in our space.

“It’s unfortunate that he has withdrawn, but we’re hoping to resolve the situation as soon as possible.”

Andrew Graham-Dixon. pictured during filming of Art of Scandinavia for the BBC in 2016, has been blacklisted by The Cambridge Union

Mr Graham-Dixon declined to comment on Cleese’s withdrawal, but on Monday issued an apology for any offence caused by his parody, saying he had been trying to persuade the audience “that bad taste and bad morality often go hand-in-hand”.

“The speech I gave was a strident attack on Hitler’s racism and anti-Semitism,” he said.

“I sincerely apologise to anyone who found my debating tactics and use of Hitler’s own language distressing; on reflection, some of the words I used, even in quotation, are inherently offensive.”

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