‘Monty Python’ Star John Cleese Causes Uproar After Saying ‘London Not Really an English City Any More’

In this handout photo, Fawlty Towers creator and co-writer, John Cleese, introduced the media to Stephen Hall, who will play the role of Basil Fawlty and Blazey Best as Sybil Fawlty in the world premiere tour of Fawlty Towers-Live on stage at Park Hyatt Hotel on March 21, 2016 in …
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Actor John Cleese, of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers fame, has sparked a Twitter firestorm after saying “London is not really an English city any more.”

Cleese, who recently announced that he supports Brexit and is moving to the Caribbean island of Nevis, jumped to Twitter on Wednesday to double down on his past claim that London has long since faded away as a British city.

“Some years ago I opined that London was not really an English city any more,” the Silly Walks skit creator wrote.

“Since then, virtually all my friends from abroad have confirmed my observation. So there must be some truth in it,” Cleese, who is no right-winger, added.

“I note also that London was the UK city that voted most strongly to remain in the EU,” he concluded.

From its context, it appears that Cleese was making note of the fact that London is highly Euro-centric being the biggest supporter of staying in the EU than the rest of the country. But many attackers assumed that Cleese was revealing his racism by attacking the majority of Londoners who are foreigners.

For instance, British journalist Jon Stone slammed the A Fish Called Wanda star for being a “bigot.”

“The only thing damaging British culture here is John Cleese turning out to be a bigot and thus spoiling the enjoyment of his back-catalogue,” Stone wrote.

TV presenter Rick Edwards added, “Just when you think you can’t love John Cleese any more!! It turns out you can’t.”

Naturally, the 79-year-old comedian’s tweet sparked a firestorm among Brexit “remainers” who were critical of Cleese and his slam on London, not the least of which was London’s first Muslim Mayor, Sadiq Khan.

Khan accused Cleese of acting just like his prickly Fawlty Towers character, Basil Fawlty.

“These comments make John Cleese sound like he’s in character as Basil Fawlty,” Khan insisted.

“Londoners know that our diversity is our greatest strength. We are proudly the English capital, a European city and a global hub,” he concluded.

Others accused Cleese of complaining about immigrants in London while himself preparing to become an immigrant by moving to the Caribbean.

Writer Caitlin Moran, for instance, went on the attack saying: “John Cleese is in the process of moving to Nevis, in the Caribbean. I hope there’s a old Nevisian comedian ready to moan about how Charlestown won’t “really be a Nevisian town any more.” Goddamn immigrants”:

Writer Paul Bassett also found Cleese’s new abode a point of criticism. “To be fair, John Cleese has as much right to express his opinion of London as any other elderly white millionaire living in the Caribbean,” Bassett tweeted.

After the wave of attacks washed over his Twitter feed, Cleese jumped back into the debate and doubled down on his proclamation about London’s level of Britishness. He also took a swipe at those who were claiming his comments stemmed from “racism.”

“I suspect I should apologise for my affection for the Englishness of my upbringing, but in some ways I found it calmer, more polite, more humorous, less tabloid, and less money-oriented than the one that is replacing it, ” Cleese said in a follow up tweet:

He also struck back at some of those accusing him of racism and bigotry:

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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