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John Cleese Slams ‘Woke Rules’ After Cambridge Union Bans Speaker for Hitler Impersonation

Cleese will no longer give a November 13 talk at Cambridge Union as a result.

John Cleese. File photo dated 25/02/15 of John Cleese, who has claimed that Britain has the "worst press in Europe". Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme he said that "corruption here is far, far worse than people know". Issue date: Tuesday July 31, 2018. See PA story MEDIA Cleese. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire URN:37814294 (Press Association via AP Images)

John Cleese


John Cleese slammed “woke rules” while announcing his exit from a scheduled talk at The Cambridge Union Society on Friday, November 13. The “Monty Python” comedy icon pulled out of his Cambridge Union appearance after the free speech society announced earlier this month it was banning art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon from future appearances after he did an impression of Adolf Hitler during a debate held at the Union last week. The debate Graham-Dixon took part in was focused on art and good taste.

In announcing his own exit from an upcoming Cambridge Union talk, Cleese reminded his fans that he also has done Adolf Hitler impersonations in the past. One famous example is on Cleese’s BBC2 sitcom “Fawlty Towers,” where the comedian went as far as reenacting Hitler’s Nazi march. If Cambridge Union was blacklisting someone for a Hitler impersonation, then Cleese wanted to impose a self-made blacklist for the same reason.

“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,” Cleese wrote on social media. “I regret that I did the same on a Monty Python show, so I am blacklisting myself before someone else does.”

Cleese continued, “I apologize 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.”

Cambridge Union, founded in 1815, is a debating and free speech society and the University of Cambridge’s largest society. It is also the oldest continuously-running debating society in the world and currently boasts more than 70,000 members worldwide.

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