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Monty Python writer and actor John Cleese preemptively "blacklisted" himself as a form of protest after the Cambridge Union banned Andrew Graham-Dixon, an art critic who impersonated Adolf Hitler.

Cleese backed out of his scheduled guest appearance engagement for the debating and free speech society in Cambridge, England—where the actor was an alumnus—because he said he too impersonated the leader of the Nazi Party in a Monty Python sketch.


Ironically, Cleese had announced back in August he was making a documentary series exploring "cancel culture," titled, John Cleese: Cancel Me.

The actor reportedly was visiting Cambridge as part of the documentary about woke culture.

Cleese took to Twitter announcing his withdrawal from Friday's appearance after being apprised of the Union's decision to blacklist Graham-Dixon.

"I was looking forward to talking to students at the Cambridge Union this Friday," he tweeted, "but I hear that someone there has been blacklisted for doing an impersonation of Hitler."

"I regret that I did the same on a Monty Python show, so I am blacklisting myself before someone else does."

He expressed his regrets in a follow-up tweet:

"I apologise 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."


Cleese also impersonated Hitler's high-stepping march and mustache in an episode of another TV series he is famous for, Fawlty Towers, at a time when nothing appeared to be off-limits in comedy.

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Twitter users commented on his wording choice in his accusation against the Cambridge Union.








The Cambridge Union president, Keir Bradwell was disappointed to learn of Cleese essentially "canceling himself" ahead of the event and said it was "a huge shame."

"We were really looking forward to hosting John here," said Bradwell.

"It would have been a really fantastic event and our members are really excited to hear from him – the documentary he is making is extremely topical. He's the kind of speaker that would thrive with our audience and in our room."

The Guardian reported Graham-Dixon's impression of Hitler ranting came during a debate last week on the motion, "This house believes there is no such thing as good taste."

After the backlash, the art historian clarified he did not intend to upset people but wanted to make a point "that bad taste and bad morality often go hand-in-hand."

Bradwell issued a statement on the Union's Facebook page, saying Graham-Dixon's remarks at the debate were "thoughtless and grotesque."

The Union President apologized for not intervening, and he subsequently consumed "two glasses of wine over dinner beforehand, as did our speakers", but added he was "not impeded in my ability to chair the debate."