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Graham Norton criticizes John Cleese’s stance on cancel culture


Graham Norton said John Cleese had to take responsibility for what he said. (BBC)

Graham Norton has criticized John Cleese’s stance on cancel culture, saying people need to accept “responsibility” for the things they say.

The comedian and chat host gave an example of the Monty Python and Fawlty Towers star when asked about cancel culture at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, saying Cleese has been able to say what he loves for years.

Norton, 59, said: “The word [cancel] is the wrong word. I think the word should be “responsibility”.

Read more: John Cleese Says Woke Culture Has a ‘Disastrous’ Impact on Creativity in Comedy

“John Cleese recently complained publicly about what you can’t say.

“It must be very difficult to be a man of a certain age who has been able to say what he wants for years, and now all of a sudden there is a certain responsibility.

John Cleese

Graham Norton said John Cleese, 82, is a “middle-aged man” who has been able to say whatever he wants for years. (Getty Images)

“It’s freedom of expression, but not without consequences. I am aware of the things I say.

Cleese recently revealed he would be hosting a new show on GB News, calling it a ‘free speech’ channel and claimed he would not be working at the BBC for fear of being cancelled.

Cleese, 82, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The BBC didn’t come to me and say, ‘Would you like to have hour-long shows?’

“And if they did, I’d say, ‘Not on your nelly!’ Because I wouldn’t have had five minutes in the first show before it got canceled or censored.

Graham Norton (rear) and (left to right) John Cleese, Taylor Swift and Kevin Pietersen appearing in the Graham Norton show, filmed at London Studios, London, which will air on BBC One on Friday evening.

Graham Norton interviewed John Cleese on his chat show in 2014. (PA)

Meanwhile, Norton declined to discuss JK Rowling at the event, saying he did not want to be drawn into the debate over trans issues raised by his stance on protecting women’s gender-based rights.

The gay TV presenter said: “My voice adds absolutely nothing to this discussion. I’m a little embarrassed to be kind of dragged into this.

“If people want to shine a light on these issues, and I hope they do, talk to trans people. Talk to someone who can shed some light on this somehow.”

Read more: The Monty Pythons John Cleese slammed for ‘transphobic’ tweet

Norton previously defended his decision to invite the Harry Potter author on his radio show, saying he didn’t believe in having to agree with someone to interview him.

Watch: John Cleese called GB News a ‘free speech’ channel

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