John Cleese decided to cancel himself and call off a planned appearance at Cambridge University after a fellow attendee was “blacklisted” for doing an impersonation of Adolf Hitler.
Taking to Twitter ahead of his planned appearance, Cleese, who is a Cambridge alumnus, noted that he was getting ahead of being “blacklisted” by calling off his appearance after art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon was blacklisted by Cambridge Union President Keir Bradwell for doing a mocking rant as Hitler to make a point in a debate about whether or not “good taste” exists.
“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,” the 82-year-old “Monty Python” and “Fawlty Towers” comedian noted. “I regret that I did the same on a Monty Python show, so I am blacklisting myself before someone else does.”
In a follow-up tweet, Cleese added: “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.”
According to Variety, the Union, whose motto is “Defending Free Speech Since 1815,” boasts more than 70,000 members worldwide and is the oldest debating society in the world and the largest student society in Cambridge.
In a statement provided to the outlet, Bradwell said: “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. The documentary he is making is extremely topical. 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.”
Bradwell noted that he is trying to work with Cleese to get him to reconsider his decision not to appear.
According to The Guardian, it’s fitting that Cleese would take issue with the situation given that he was reportedly appearing at the university along with the team making a documentary series involving him about cancel culture titled “Cancel Me.”