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John Cleese Aims to Combat Cancel Culture

John Cleese, one of the founding members of Monty Python, has signed up to become a presenter on the television channel GB News, while also complaining that “cancel culture” is keeping people such as himself off TV screens. The funny man says it's no laughing matter.


John Cleese standing on a street in New York
John Cleese | Wikipedia

Cleese, who will present shows on GB News from next year, said: “There’s a massive amount of important information that gets censored, both in TV and in the press. In my new show, I’ll be talking about a lot of it. You should be prepared to be shocked.”


Asked how his show with GB News came about, Cleese told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I was approached and I didn’t know who they were … And then I met one or two of the [GB News] people concerned and had dinner with them, and I liked them very much. And what they said was: ‘People say it’s the rightwing channel – it’s a free speech channel.’”


Despite a rocky launch in 2021 that resulted in the departure of Andrew Neil as chair, GB News has recovered to build a small but loyal audience. They compete for television ratings with cancel culture coverage and complaints about “wokery” in modern life.


Asked whether free speech should extend to those spreading misinformation about public health matters, Cleese said: “If there’s a factual response to something like that, then that should be made. That’s the job, to put the facts out there, and then to have opinions slightly separate and have a proper argument about it, but not to try to avoid a public debate.”

 

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