Sadiq Khan has hit back at Monty Python’s John Cleese for saying that the UK capital is “not really an English city any more,” comparing him to his rant-prone Fawlty Towers character, Basil Fawlty.
“These comments make John Cleese sound like he’s in character as Basil Fawlty,” the Mayor of London said.
Cleese hit headlines after re-asserting his old claim, adding that his “friends from abroad” agreed with him:
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
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) May 29, 2019
The 79-year-old Monty Python comic, who is in the process of moving to the Caribbean because he is “disappointed” with Britain, quickly defended his comments against accusations of racism.
Responding to tweets criticising those friends, Cleese said: “It is ignorant and rude to insult my foreign friends in this way.”
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 will be considered racist by all those who hover, eagerly hoping that someone will offend them – on someone else's behalf, naturally https://t.co/4WbZDFjs3o
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) May 30, 2019
Sadiq Khan responded: “Londoners know that our diversity is our greatest strength. We are proudly the English capital, a European city and a global hub.”