John Cleese has today taken another swipe at London as he tried to defend his claims that it is ‘not really an English city anymore.’
The 79-year-old said his remarks were ‘culturalist’ rather than racist after he was criticised by politicians and members of the public.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan even claimed it made him sound more like his famous Fawlty Towers character Basil Fawlty.
But responding to his 5.6million followers on Twitter, Cleese detailed a list of reasons why he has problems with London as part of an explanation as to why he moved to the island of Nevis in the Caribbean.
And in another dig at the capital, Cleese said: ‘And the icing on the cake is that Nevis is not the world centre for Russian dirty money laundering.’
Fawlty Towers and Monty Python John Cleese, pictured in London in January, has defended calling the UK capital ‘not really English anymore’, adding his remarks were ‘culturalist’ and not racist
Writing on Twitter today, pictured, Cleese listed reasons why he prefers living in Nevis in the Caribbean to London
He also told one critic that he feels he is ‘allowed to take a couple of years off’ taxes after paying the top bracket in the UK and US for 53 years
He said: ‘It might interest those people who seem to think my remarks about London are racist as opposed to culturalist, to consider that what I like about spending time in Nevis.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan even claimed it made him sound more like his famous Fawlty Towers character Basil Fawlty (pictured)
‘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 life style, a deep love of cricket, and a complete lack of knife crime And, of course, wonderful weather.’
He added: ‘And the icing on the cake is that Nevis is not the world centre for Russian dirty money laundering.’
Cleese, who rose to fame in the 1970s as a co-founder of the surrealist comedy group Monty Python, alongside Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Sir Michael Palin, later added to his comments.
He said it is ‘legitimate’ to prefer one culture to another.
The comedian said: ‘For example, I prefer cultures that do not tolerate female genital mutilation. Will this will be considered racist by all those who hover, eagerly hoping that someone will offend them – on someone else’s behalf, naturally.’
His comments yesterday echoed those he made in 2011, when the veteran actor told Australian television that London ‘doesn’t feel English.’
Mr Cleese tweeted the controversial London comment, pictured, yesterday to his 5.6 million followers on Twitter
A number of other Twitter users latched onto the comments from Mr Cleese and disagreed with him, including Sadiq Khan who said Cleese sounded like Basil Fawlty
Not everyone disagreed with the Monty Python star. The official Leave.EU account praised Cleese, writing: ‘Bravo to British comedy legend and Brexiteer @JohnCleese for speaking up about the state of London The liberal luvvies on Twitter are in meltdown over his refusal to apologise for telling the truth!’
Cleese – who is no stranger to controversy on social media – has caused a heated debate online with this latest comment, with some people mocking the 79-year-old, while others supported his views.
The Twitter controversies of Monty Python’s John Cleese
Today wasn’t the first time John Cleese sparked a storm by tweeting something controversial.
- In 2016, he said: ‘Why do we let half-educated tenement Scots run our English press ? Because their craving for social status makes them obedient retainers?’
- In November 2018, as the California wildfires raged, he wrote: ‘Invited tonight to a Sacramento restaurant called Lucca, by the owner Erin. ‘She said that last night several people came in to eat who were from Paradise, the place that just burned to the ground. She told me that they wanted everything they ordered flambeed. Magnificent…’
- In June 2018, he listed the best audiences then followed it up by saying: ‘Worst: Lazy, fat, beer-sodden, pseudo-French Belgian b******s in Hasselt.
His tweet said: ‘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.’
Sherlock star Amanda Abbington tweeted: ‘What’s happened to John Cleese…?’
TV presenter Rick Edwards wrote: ‘Just when you think you can’t love John Cleese any more!! It turns out you can’t.
But not everyone disagreed with the veteran entertainer.
The official Leave.EU account praised Cleese, writing: ‘Bravo to British comedy legend and Brexiteer @JohnCleese for speaking up about the state of London The liberal luvvies on Twitter are in meltdown over his refusal to apologise for telling the truth!’.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has responded to John Cleese after the actor made comments about London
In a statement Mr Khan referred to Cleese’s comedy series Fawlty Towers, saying: ‘These comments make John Cleese sound like he’s in character as Basil Fawlty.
Latest official statistics reveal the make-up of London’s population
London has the highest percentage of non-UK born residents in the country.
It is also made up of the highest proportion of non-white groups in the country.
In 2018, 36 per cent of people in London were non-UK born residents, while non-British residents were at 22 per cent.
In the local authority of Brent, 52 per cent of people were born outside of the UK, while both Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster, have 49 per cent of their population born elsewhere.
The 2011 census recorded that 2,998,264 people are foreign-born, including 24.5 per cent born in a non-European country, making London the city with the second largest immigrant population, behind New York City, in terms of absolute numbers
According to the Census, 44.9 per cent of Londoners are White British, the lowest proportion in the country.
In comparison, the North East of England is 93.6 per cent White British.
Other White people make up 14.9 per cent of London’s population.
7.1 per cent of Londoners are African, while 6.6 per cent are Indian.
5 per cent are of Mixed race and 4.2 per cent are Caribbean.
A further 2.7 per cent are Pakistani, 2.7 per cent are Bangladeshi and 1.5 per cent are Chinese.
4.9 per cent are Other Asian, 2.1 per cent are Other Black and 3.4 per cent are from a different Ethnic Group.
When it comes to language, 77.9 per cent of Londoners speak English as their main language, while 0.6 per cent cannot speak it at all.
48.2 per cent of Londoners are Christian, according to the 2011 Census.
‘Londoners know that our diversity is our greatest strength. We are proudly the English capital, a European city and a global hub.’
Since the tweet Mr Cleese has responded to critics online who have questioned his claims about London.
He posted in response to one user on Twitter: ‘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.’
According to the 2011 Census, 44.9 per cent of London is White British, the lowest figure for a single region in the country.
North East England has the highest percentage of White British people in England, with 93.6 per cent.
The highest percentage in the UK is Northern Ireland, which has 96 per cent.
Non-white groups made up 40 per cent of London’s population, while it varies from 4.5 per cent to 17 per cent in other English regions.
It is not the first time Mr Cleese has courted controversy online.
In November 2018, the British actor took to Twitter to share a joke he’d heard while dining out at a restaurant in Sacremento, California.
He wrote: ‘Invited tonight to a Sacramento restaurant called Lucca, by the owner Erin.
‘She said that last night several people came in to eat who were from Paradise, the place that just burned to the ground.
‘She told me that they wanted everything they ordered flambeed. Magnificent…’
At the time he posted the joke California was besieged by wild fires, with the death toll currently at 50, with hundreds of animals also thought to have perished and thousands left homeless.
In another remark on Twitter made by the actor in June 2018, he listed the best audiences then followed it up by saying: ‘Worst: Lazy, fat, beer-sodden, pseudo-French Belgian b******s in Hasselt.
It is not the first time Cleese has courted controversy. In June 2018 the actor listed the best audiences then followed it up by saying: ‘Worst: Lazy, fat, beer-sodden, pseudo-French Belgian b******s in Hasselt. ‘Like reading Moby Dick to nomads’
‘Like reading Moby Dick to nomads.’
But after an online backlash he added: ‘An apology to the citizens of Hasselt. It was quite wrong of me to describe them as pseudo-French. They are, of course, pseudo-Dutch.’
How did London vote in the 2016 EU referendum?
Comedian Cleese said London voted ‘strongly’ to remain in the EU.
But how does the vote break down?
Across all the 33 London boroughs 59.9 per cent (2.26 million) voted to Remain in the EU and while 40.1 per cent voted to stay (1.5 million).
In some areas, such as Lambeth, the proportion of the vote for Remain was higher than 70 per cent.
His latest comments echo his comments made on Australian television on 2011 that London ‘is not longer an English city.’
He said at the time: ‘I’m not sure what’s going on in Britain. 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?”
A representative for Cleese has been contacted for comment.