John Cleese complains about ‘dishonest’ and ‘deceptive’ BBC interview

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John Cleese and his comedian daughter Camilla. Photo credit: Camilla Cleese

John Cleese has said he is putting in a formal complaint about the “deception, dishonesty and tone” of a recent BBC interview he gave.

The Monty Python star claimed the interviewer tried to portray him as “old-fashioned, uncaring and basically harmful” and had not discussed the agreed topics.

“I just did an interview with BBC World Asia. It was to talk about the shows I’m doing in Singapore and Bangkok,” he wrote in a Twitter thread.

“Instead, the interviewer, whose name was, I think, Karishma, started by asking me questions about Cancel Culture.

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

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

Cleese said his response had been “totally ignored” by the interviewer, who had then asked about the pandemic and US comedian Dave Chapelle.

“I removed my headphones, saying that this was not the interview I had agreed to,” he said.

“So I am formally complaining to the BBC about the deception, dishonesty and tone of this interview. Karishma had no interest in a discussion with me.

“She wanted only the role of prosecutor. The BBC needs to train her again.”

He added:

“The media will no doubt report that I ‘stormed out.’ I didn’t. Nor did I lose my temper.

“But I was depressed that this kind of presenter-ego crap is so prevalent now.”

Last month the comedian “blacklisted himself” from the Cambridge Union debating society after a historian who impersonated Adolf Hitler during a society debate was banned.

A BBC spokeswoman said:

“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.

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

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