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Monty Python star John Cleese has “blacklisted” himself from Cambridge University’s debating society, after admitting to a past impression of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
The Fawlty Towers star has cancelled a scheduled Friday appearance at England’s Cambridge Union to show his support for art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon after organization chiefs banned the expert, also for an impersonation of Hitler.
“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, a graduate of the fabled university, tweeted early on Wednesday morning.
“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, he added, “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.”
Meanwhile, Graham-Dixon has said he was mocking Hitler, not praising him, but understands why his speech was considered offensive.
“In my speech I caricatured him (Hitler), briefly, paraphrasing HIS crass and insensitive statements about art and race,” he noted.
“I apologize sincerely to anyone who found my debating tactics and use of Hitler’s own language distressing; on reflection I can see that some of the words I used, even in quotation, are inherently offensive.”
Nonetheless, he hit back at Cambridge Union president Keir Bradwell’s comments.
“Mr. Bradwell’s implication that I am a racist and anti-Semitic by placing me on his list is utterly rejected and in the context, surprising. The speech I gave was a strident attack on Hitler’s racism and anti-Semitism,” Graham-Dixon told the BBC.