John Cleese to formally complain about ‘dishonest’ BBC interview

John Cleese has made a statement saying he intends to put in a formal complaint about the “deception, dishonesty and tone” of the recent BBC interview he took part in with journalist Karishma Vaswani. The interview was broadcast on BBC World News TV and in it, he was due to talk about his upcoming shows in Asia.

Cleese tweeted about the interview, claiming Vaswani had tried to portray him as “old-fashioned, uncaring and basically harmful”. However, a spokesperson for the BBC said it was a “fair and appropriate interview”.

The Monty Python star said he was only supposed to be talking about the subject of his upcoming shows in Singapore and Bangkok but instead he was faced with questions surrounding his recent opinions on cancel culture, reports the BBC.

“I replied courteously and in full I explained that if parents were overprotective, it did not prepare children well when they entered the real and often not-very-nice world,” he tweeted.

“She then asked a disjointed question, clearly trying to portray me as old-fashioned, uncaring and basically harmful.”

He added he was ignored by the interviewer who went on to quiz him further. The following questions were not answered as Cleese removed his headphones, as “not the interview I had agreed to,” he noted.

“Karishma had no interest in a discussion with me. She wanted only the role of prosecutor. The BBC needs to train her again.”

Cleese has featured cancel culture in his new stand-up work, and also in a new Channel 4 documentary, a fact touched on in the statement given by the BBC. “This was a fair and appropriate interview which touched on topics that John Cleese has previously been vocal about as well as themes within his new tour,” a BBC spokeswoman said.

“Our presenter is an excellent and experienced journalist who conducted the interview entirely within our editorial guidelines.”

John Cleese has put himself in the mix regarding cancel culture with his outspoken views about what is currently acceptable in comedy. Last month he cancelled an appearance at Cambridge University after another visiting speaker was banned for a Hitler impression. Cleese claimed he was “blacklisting myself before someone else does”.

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Written by

Claire Gordon