Graham Norton cancel culture comments: Leeds residents weigh in on debate sparked by BBC star

Readers of the Yorkshire Evening Post have given strong responses to Graham Norton’s comments about cancel culture.
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The BBC presenter spoke about the term in relation to the announcement that comedian John Cleese will be a host on GB News, in a role where he plans to air his views against cancel culture.

The Monty Python star said: “There’s a massive amount of important information that gets censored, both in TV and in the press. In my new show, I’ll be talking about a lot of it. You should be prepared to be shocked.”

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During an appearance at the Cheltenham Literature Festival last Tuesday (October 11), Norton discussed his views on the matter, saying: “You read a lot of articles in papers by people complaining about cancel culture and you think, ‘In what world are you cancelled?’ I’m reading your article in a newspaper, or you’re doing interviews about how terrible it is to be cancelled? I think the word is the wrong word. I think the word should be ‘accountability’.

Comments by presenter Graham Norton that comments should not be "consequence free". Picture: AFP via Getty ImagesComments by presenter Graham Norton that comments should not be "consequence free". Picture: AFP via Getty Images
Comments by presenter Graham Norton that comments should not be "consequence free". Picture: AFP via Getty Images

“John Cleese has been very public recently complaining about what you can’t say.

“It must be very hard to be a man of a certain age who's been able to say whatever he likes for years, and now suddenly there’s some accountability."

The 59-year-old added: “It’s free speech, but not consequence free. I’m aware of the things I say.”

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A clip of the interview has been viewed millions of times and, asked about the content, YEP viewers responded in their droves.

John Cleese has been outspoken with his views on cancel culture. Photo: Joshua Sammer/Getty ImagesJohn Cleese has been outspoken with his views on cancel culture. Photo: Joshua Sammer/Getty Images
John Cleese has been outspoken with his views on cancel culture. Photo: Joshua Sammer/Getty Images

Matthew Arnold said about those who feel they are cancelled: “Sounds like a bunch of old people being upset that their material isn’t funny to a younger generation, shocker.

People have always gotten ‘cancelled’. Social media has just made it more publicized.”

Simon Foot added: “Norton is absolutely right. You can say what you like (within reason), but you are then accountable for what you’ve said. You can’t just say ‘Oh I’m a comedian, I say what I like, if you don’t like it you’re just part of woke/cancel culture’.”

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Kris Sample wrote: “Anyone arguing the point that no jokes should be off the table are all arguing that racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, and classist jokes are fine.”

Many were dismissive of Norton’s comments though, with Callum Anderson saying: “Holding someone accountable isn't the same as cancel culture.

“You hold someone accountable with facts. You try to cancel somebody because their views don't align with your feelings.

"People will try to cancel you if the truth is uncomfortable to hear, but they can't hold you to some sort of 'moral standard' for having an objective viewpoint.”

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Helen Davies said she felt that “the world has gone completely insane”, adding: "It’s comedy. We are losing our humour to the PC police, and our own ability to laugh at ourselves.”

Chris Wilkinson said: “Comedy has to offend someone otherwise it doesn't work.

"Yeah Cleese's attitude is from another era but so is he. Half the stuff from Monty Python wouldn't be allowed and probably Fawlty Towers as well today.

"At the end of the day its a matter of opinion.”