John Cleese canceled an appearance at Cambridge University after a visiting speaker was banned for an imitation of Hitler.
The star, who said he made a similar impression on a Monty Python show, said he was “blacklisting himself before anyone else does.”
It happened after the Cambridge Union declared that art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon would not be invited to return.
Union president Keir Bradwell said Cleese’s retirement was a “huge sin”.
On Twitter Cleese apologized to union members and said, “I was looking forward to speaking to Cambridge Union students this Friday, but I heard someone was blacklisted for imitating Hitler.
“I’m sorry I did the same on a Monty Python show, so I get blacklisted before anyone else does.
“I apologize to anyone in Cambridge hoping to talk to me, but maybe some of you can find a place where the waking rules don’t apply.”
I was looking forward to speaking to Cambridge Union students this Friday, but I heard someone was blacklisted for taking a
imitation of Hitler
I’m sorry I did the same on a Monty Python show, so I get blacklisted before anyone else does
– John Cleese (@JohnCleese) November 10, 2021
The PA news agency learned that Cleese was due to visit Cambridge University as part of a documentary she is making on the “culture of awakening.”
Bradwell said it was a “huge shame” that Mr. Cleese felt he could no longer participate, but that his “blacklist” was just a recommendation to future presidents.
“We were looking forward to hosting John here,” he said.
“It would have been a really great event and our members are really excited to hear it; the documentary he’s making is extremely current.
“We really hope we can host him sooner or later … he’s the kind of speaker who would thrive with our audience and in our room.
“It is a huge pity that he retired, but we hope to resolve the situation as soon as possible.”
Graham-Dixon declined to comment on Cleese’s retirement, but on Monday apologized for any offense caused by his parody, saying he had tried to persuade the public “that bad taste and bad morality often go hand in hand.”
“The speech I gave was a strident attack on Hitler’s racism and anti-Semitism,” he said.
“I sincerely apologize to anyone who found my debate tactics and use of Hitler’s language distressing; on reflection, I can see that some of the words I have used, even in the quotes, are inherently offensive.”
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