On Wednesday evening, actor John Cleese, most famous for his work with the comedy troupe Monty Python, which he co-founded, and his work on “Fawlty Towers,” which he co-wrote, suggested on Twitter that his opinion expressed years ago that London was not English anymore was even more true now, connecting it to the fact that Londoners were the most vociferous group in the United Kingdom to favor staying in the European Union.
For his remarks, Cleese was pilloried on social media. Cleese precipitated their outrage by writing, “Some years ago I opined that London was not really an English city any more. Since then, virtually all my friends from abroad have confirmed my observation So there must be some truth in it… I note also that London was the UK city that voted most strongly to remain in the EU.”
London mayor Sadiq Khan reacted, “These comments make John Cleese sound like he’s in character as Basil Fawlty.Londoners know that our diversity is our greatest strength. We are proudly the English capital, a European city and a global hub.”
One British TV and radio writer snapped, “Some years ago I said something a bit ignorant and dog-whistly. I hang out with people who are also a bit ignorant and dog-whistly. So it must be correct… Whilst I’m at it, here’s another example of confirmation bias for you.”
Cleese responded, “James, you can do better than this. It is ignorant and rude to insult my foreign friends in this way.”
The writer has had his own feelings about Brexit:
There were other critics of Cleese:
Cleese answered his critics by noting:
It might interest those people who seem to think my remarks about London are racist as opposed to culturalist, to consider that what I like about spending time in Nevis. Nevis has excellent race relations, a very well educated population, no sign of political correctness … no sign of Rupert Murdoch, conscientious lawyers, a relaxed and humorous life style, a deep love of cricket, and a complete lack of knife crime And, of course, wonderful weather. And the icing on the cake is that Nevis is not the world centre for Russian dirty money laundering.
One critic of Cleese’s tweeted, “Many can’t differentiate between the two or believe that both are an evil. You aren’t allowed to prefer one culture over another. A lot of those same people will tell you how they wouldn’t ever consider living somewhere other than their preferred spot.”
Cleese fired back, “I think it’s legitimate to prefer one culture to another For example, I prefer cultures that do not tolerate female genital mutilation. Will this will be considered racist by all those who hover, eagerly hoping that someone will offend them – on someone else’s behalf, naturally.”