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John Cleese discusses theory about projection of racism on Twitter

Actor and comedian John Cleese has responded to online criticism (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Actor and comedian John Cleese has responded to online criticism (Andrew Matthews/PA)

John Cleese has continued commenting on Twitter following controversy over claims he made about London being “not really an English city”.

The Monty Python and Fawlty Towers star made the claim in a Twitter post on May 29 which drew criticism from others online.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan joined the condemnation claiming Cleese was acting like Basil Fawlty.

John Cleese
John Cleese has countered claims of prejudice (Conor McCabe/PA)

Cleese has commented further following the incident, and countered accusations of prejudice.

He wrote: “There’s a psychological mechanism called ‘Denial and Projection’ Christ spoke of it when he referred to ‘mote and beam’.

“So someone who is a racist, but who is in denial about it, will project their feelings onto others, and see them in those others.”

He added: “There’s a view that any kind of colonialism was and is wrong The trouble is that nearly everyone’s been up to it ! The Romans colonised England for 400 years, and then the Normans colonised us for another 300 I put it down to the fact there will always be power hungry folk.”

Celebrities including Caitlin Moran and Rick Edwards were quick to condemn Cleese’s claims about London.

The Fawlty Towers stars initially wrote: “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.”

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