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Comedian Rowan Atkinson: Cancel Culture ‘Like A Medieval Mob’

British star has a long history of defending free speech against the language police

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ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Rowan Atkinson, famous for portraying the characters Mr Bean and Blackadder, has once again hit headlines for slamming the rise of a destructive cancel culture.

In an interview with the UK’s Radio Times, Atkinson described online trolls trying to ban everything as “the digital equivalent of the medieval mob.”

“The problem we have online is that an algorithm decides what we want to see, which ends up creating a simplistic, binary view of society,” he said.

“It becomes a case of either you’re with us or against us. And if you’re against us, you deserve to be ‘cancelled’,” the British comedian emphasised.

Atkinson also blasted social media, saying that it fills him with “fear about the future,” because it continues to lower tolerance for differing opinions, which widens divisions in society.

“What we have now is the digital equivalent of the medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn,” Atkinson urged.

He noted that he has been on the end of the hate mob, not only owing to some of the skits in Mr Bean, many of which were written 30 years ago, but also because of his long history of standing up for free speech.

“It is scary for anyone who’s a victim of that mob and it fills me with fear about the future,” Atkinson declared.

Atkinson opposed the introduction of so called ‘hate speech’ laws in 2005, describing the legislation as like taking “sledgehammer to crack a nut”.

Atkinson also opposed the introduction of homophobic ‘hate speech’ clauses into UK law in 2009.

At the time in 2009, Atkinson outlined where such moves to quell speech were heading, prophesising “a culture of censoriousness, a questioning, negative and leaden attitude that is encouraged by legislation of this nature.”

The comedian warned that it would only be “considerably and meaningfully alleviated by [a] free speech clause.”

In 2012, Atkinson further railed against “insulting” behaviour being classed as a criminal offence.

“The clear problem of the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such. Criticism, ridicule, sarcasm, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy, can be interpreted as insult,” Atkinson stated at the time during an impassioned defence of free speech:

In 2020, Atkinson was again targeted by the mob he speaks about when he publicly opposed Scotland’s ‘hate crimes’ bill, saying that it “risked stifling freedom of expression, and the ability to articulate or criticise religious and other beliefs”.

Several other comedians have railed against the rise of cancel culture, including Monty Python star John Cleese, The Office creator Ricky Gervais, the ‘podfathers’ Joe Rogan and Adam Carolla, as well as Bill Burr and ‘politically incorrect’ star Dave Chapelle, to name just a few.

Cancel culture has seen some comedians self-censoring in order to appease the mob:

Comedy is the canary in the coal mine when it comes to cancel culture, however. There are signs that its tentacles are penetrating deeply into all aspects of society.

A recent study by leading education focused think tank Civitas revealed that free speech at the world’s leading universities is being eroded at an alarming rate.

The study found that within the past three years, more than 68 per cent of universities in the UK have seen free speech severely restricted, with academics unable to meaningfully discuss the nuances of issues such as race and gender.

The report notes that universities including Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews, three of the world’s premiere institutions are among those that have fallen into a “red” category for free speech following instances of “no platforming” of scheduled speakers.

Last year, 150 of the world’s top intellectuals, authors and activists signed an open letter decrying leftist cancel culture, censorship and the totalitarian march of “ideological conformity.”

The letter warned that cancel culture is creating a climate of risk aversion that is preventing anyone from dissenting from the monolithic consensus of social justice rhetoric, creating a “stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time.”

In the US, the Deputy Secretary of The Department of Homeland Security also recently warned that the actions of tech companies in embracing cancel culture, and censoring opinions they do not agree with constitutes a “grave threat to national security.”

Culture

Clarkson Fights Back: Goes On Offensive Against Woke Take-over

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Toby Young | Daily Sceptic

Vito Corleone/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

If you haven’t signed the Free Speech Union’s petition urging the CEO of ITV not to fire Jeremy Clarkson, please do so now. Meanwhile, Clarkson has written a blistering attack on the woke takeover of Britain in today’s Sunday Times. Here’s how it begins:

My son came over for a father-and-son pre-football supper the other day, and as he fussed over the Aga, making a particularly fine stir fry, we laughed about what innocuous word had been banned that day and who’d been cancelled. And then, after a pause, he said with a solemn face, “You do know there’s a war going on, don’t you?”

He wasn’t talking about Ukraine. He was talking about a full-on left-wing campaign to unstitch and burn the fabric of Britain. And the genius is that no one really knows that what they’re doing is serious. We laugh as they change the name of the Sir Francis Drake Primary School to something less slavey. We think it’s all a big joke. But it isn’t.

Think about what typically happens in a military operation and then look what the woke left has done here. It’s seized control of our television and radio stations to such an extent that last week Sophie Raworth said, on the BBC News at Six, with a straight face, “And over now to our LGBT and diversity correspondent …”

And TV drama? Unaffected? Right, and when was the last time you saw a fictional police force hunting a gang of Muslim extremists? It’s always the far right. And it’s the same story in comedy. Say anything you like about Boris or Rishi and the laughter track is turned up to 11. Make a joke about she/him pronouns or Greta Thunberg and they’ll blow a piece of tumbleweed across the stage.

In sport we sometimes have three women doing the punditry at a men’s football match, and if anyone remarks on this on Twitter, they are immediately singled out for the india-rubber treatment. And who’s doing the erasing? Who’s making the rules? That’s just it. We don’t have a clue. What we do know is that, having taken control of the television stations, without a shot being fired, they turned their attention, like any conquering army, to the schools. Here they went fully Pol Pot, doing a comprehensive year-zero job on the curriculum so that kids would know their parents were all racists. Apart from those with “unconscious bias”. Who were racists as well.

You probably think, because you don’t know this war is going on, that when you drop little Johnny off at the school gates he’s going to learn the nine times table that day. No, he isn’t. He’s learning that he might actually be a girl, which is why there are probably tampon dispensers in the boys’ lavatories.

With all this in place, they set about the police, and here they’ve done a tremendous job. Because, so far as I can tell, almost all the officers in the Met — apart from the terrifying number of sexual perverts — are now more wide awake than a frightened fox.

When some young people with green hair glue themselves to the road, large numbers of officers are dispatched to stand around looking at them. And they are only ever removed from the tarmac if they promise to go immediately to the nearest art gallery and throw some soup at a painting.

Has Clarkson been red-pilled by his recent punishment beating at the hands of the progressive thought police?

Worth reading in full.

And don’t forget to sign the petition!

This post was originally published at The Daily Sceptic

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The Matrix is Malfunctioning

The Great Reveal.

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Is it just me, or does anyone else get the feeling that the matrix is starting to malfunction?

Please share this video! https://youtu.be/9gHwe180s-U

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Clarkson is Cancelled

Harry & Meghan claim another scalp.

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Clarkson apologized twice and Amazon still cancelled him.

Now Harry & Meghan want him to apologize for his entire career.

Cowing to the woke mob only ever emboldens it.

Please share this video! https://youtu.be/aXaPWOagNb4

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