Monty Python star John Cleese took to Twitter earlier this week claiming that London was no longer an English city.
The 79-year-old actor who has openly supported Brexit tweeted: “Some years ago I opined that London was not really an English city any more. Since then, virtually all my friends from abroad have confirmed my observation. So there must be some truth in it… I note also that London was the UK city that voted most strongly to remain in the EU.”
In 2011, Cleese “sparked fury” after he suggested multiculturalism in London caused English culture to disappear.
“I’m not sure what’s going on in Britain,” Cleese said in an appearance on Australian television. “Let me say this, I don’t know what’s going on in London because London is no longer an English city and that’s how they got the Olympics.
“They said ‘we’re the most cosmopolitan city on Earth’ but it doesn’t feel English.
“I had a Californian friend come over two months ago, walk down the King’s Road and say to me ‘well, where are all the English people?
“I love having different cultures around but when the parent culture kind of dissipates you’re left thinking, ‘well, what’s going on?”
Cleese’s recent remarks have again been promptly criticised, and of course, branded racist. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said Cleese’s comments make him sound like his character Basil Fawlty from the cult-classic Fawlty Towers.
“Londoners know that our diversity is our greatest strength,” Khan said on Twitter. “We are proudly the English capital, a European city and a global hub.”
Cleese later responded to a fellow-Englishman who told the actor he “can’t stand ‘Englishness’” and “takes zero pride in having been born in little England.”
“I suspect I should apologise for my affection for the Englishness of my upbringing,” Cleese replied. “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, who last year moved to the island of Nevis in the Caribbean, later doubled-down on his initial remarks, claiming they were not racist, but rather ‘culturalist’.
“It might interest those people who seem to think my remarks about London are racist as opposed to culturalist, to consider that’s what I like about spending time in Nevis,” he said. “Nevis has excellent race relations, a very well educated population, no sign of political correctness…
“No sign of Rupert Murdoch, conscientious lawyers, a relaxed and humorous lifestyle, a deep love of cricket, and a complete lack of knife crime. And, of course, wonderful weather.
“And the icing on the cake is that Nevis is not the world centre for Russian dirty money laundering,” he added.
In an additional tweet, the actor went on to say: “I think it’s legitimate to prefer one culture to another. For example, I prefer cultures that do not tolerate female genital mutilation. Will this be considered racist by all those who hover, eagerly hoping that someone will offend them – on someone else’s behalf, naturally.”
Cleese last year decided to emigrate from Britain to Nevis because, according to BBC, he was “disappointed with so much about this country.”