John Cleese On Anti-Racism Protesters Toppling Statues: "I'm Very Confused"

The Monty Python icon is also very confused about the removal of a 'Fawlty Towers' ep from a streaming site.


[Update: An episode of 'Fawlty Towers taken down from a streaming service for containing "racial slurs" is to be reinstated.]

John Cleese feels "very confused about toppling statues".

The 80-year-old comedy star has questioned the recent trend of removing or defacing statues of historic figures in light of anti-racism protests, with Cleese arguing the issue is much more "complicated" than has been suggested by some protesters.

He explained via Twitter: "I'm very confused about toppling statues...

"The Greeks, whose civilisation has long been admired in the West, believed that in the Ancient World, a cultured society was only possible if it was based on slavery

"So should we be getting rid of statues of Socrates and Aristotle ?

"Similarly, the Romans enslaved the British for 400 years.

"So are we due reparations from the Italians ?

"And Sir Isaac Newton was a shareholder in the South Sea Company, which included slave trading among its activities

"What do we do about his statues ?

"It's rather complicated (sic)"

 

​​​​​​​Cleese has also blasted the removal of a controversial episode of Fawlty Towers from UKTV, describing the streaming service's decision as "stupid".

The BBC-owned broadcaster has taken down the 'The Germans' episode, which features hotel guest Major Gowen using racist language when telling an anecdote about the West Indies cricket team.

Cleese — who starred in and co-wrote the comedy series with Connie Booth — told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper: "One of the things I've learned in the last 180 years is that people have very different senses of humour.

"Some of them understand that if you put nonsense words into the mouth of someone you want to make fun of you're not broadcasting their views, you're making fun of them.

"The Major was an old fossil left over from decades before. We were not supporting his views, we were making fun of them. If they can't see that, if people are too stupid to see that, what can one say?"— BANG 

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