‘Find a venue where woke rules don’t apply!’ John Cleese drops out of Cambridge Union talk

John Cleese says BBC 'wouldn't commission Monty Python now'

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Monty Python actor John Cleese has taken to Twitter to reveal that he has “blacklisted himself” from an upcoming talk at Cambridge Union on Friday. The comedic star, 82, announced the decision after art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon mimicked the leader of the Nazi Partty at a recent event, leading to him being banned from speaking at the prestigious university.

I am blacklisting myself before someone else does

John Cleese

In view of his 5.6 million followers, the comedian issued his statement on his decision.

John wrote: “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 regret that I did the same on a Monty Python show, so I am blacklisting myself before someone else does,” he added.

The star went on to apologise for his absence before hitting out at the institution’s “woke rules”.

“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,” John said.

Yesterday, it was reported that an art historian had been banned from speaking at Cambridge University’s debating society after he offended students with an impersonation of Hitler.

The move was announced by Cambridge Union president Keir Bradwell after Andrew Graham-Dixon spoke at the event.

As well as issuing an apology, the art historian said that his impersonation of the leader of the Nazi Party was done to “underline the utterly evil nature of Hitler”.


Mr Bradwell has also apologised to members of the society after joking about the speech following the event.

At the time of the debate, he reportedly said that he was “quite drunk”, but later said that the two glasses of wine he’d had with dinner had “not impeded in my ability to chair the debate.”

The debating society had been holding a debate on the concept of good taste on November 4.

Following the event, Mr Bradwell published a letter on Facebook where he wrote that the art historian had offended members of the society when using Hitler’s “deplorable” words about Jewish and black people.

Addressing the comments, Mr Graham Dixon replied: “In my speech I caricatured him (Hitler), briefly, paraphrasing HIS crass and insensitive statements about art and race.”

He added that it had not been his intention to upset the audience.

“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 went on.

The art historian told the BBC: “The speech I gave was a strident attack on Hitler’s racism and anti-Semitism.”

In his tweet, Monty Python star John told how he himself had impersonated Hiter in a 1969 episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Mr Hilter and the North Minehead by-election is a sketch that appears in the twelfth episode of the first series of the comedy.

In the programme, Mr Hitler, portrayed by John, rides along roads on a bicycle while shouting in German through a megaphone.

Michael Palin, Graham Chapman and Terry Jones also star in the sketch.

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