John Cleese Pulls Out of Cambridge Union Talk Over ‘Woke Rules,’ ‘Monty Python’ Hitler Impersonation

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Celebrated “Monty Python” and “A Fish Called Wanda” actor and writer John Cleese has pulled out of an upcoming talk at the Cambridge Union on Friday, citing concerns over “woke rules” and an Adolf Hitler impersonation he had famously done on the “Fawlty Towers” series decades ago.

Cleese, who is a Cambridge alumnus, was responding to a decision by the Union, which is a debating society, to blacklist art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon. The historian had performed a mock impression of Hitler ranting, during a debate last week on art and good taste at the Union. Subsequently, Union president Keir Bradwell informed members that Graham-Dixon was banned from speaking there.

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“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,” Cleese tweeted.

“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,” Cleese added.

Cleese has also impersonated the German dictator on a “Monty Python” sketch.

The Union’s motto “Defending Free Speech Since 1815…” is published on their website. It has more than 70,000 members worldwide. “Now the oldest debating society in the world, and the largest student society in Cambridge, the Union remains a unique forum for the free exchange of ideas and the art of public debate,” it is stated on the Union website’s homepage.

Variety has reached out to the Cambridge Union for comment.

Cleese’s decision has found favor with controversial media personality Piers Morgan. “Bravo, Mr Cleese. (Words I never thought I’d write, but this is an admirable response to yet more absurd campus cancel culture cr*p.),” Morgan tweeted.

Cleese and Channel 4 created “Cancel Me,” a documentary series that explores cancel culture. He was due to appear at the Union alongside the team that created the series.

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