(JTA) – An impression of Adolf Hitler at Cambridge University sparked a fight over the limits of free speech and brought Monty Python comedian John Cleese into the fray. The identity theft was spoken out during a debate last week on whether there is such a thing as ‘good taste’. Andrew Graham-Dixon, an art historian, posed as Hitler as an example of bad taste, in order to argue that good and bad taste exists.
At the time, Keir Bradwell, president of the Cambridge Union, a debating society, jokingly thanked Graham-Dixon for the identity theft. Bradwell has since turned the tide and issued an apology for not cutting Graham-Dixon.
This conviction led Cleese, a free speech champion, to cancel her participation in an upcoming event at the Cambridge Union. He said he made the move to protest the university’s treatment of Graham-Dixon. Cleese was scheduled to appear in Cambridge as a guest of the debate society as part of his new documentary series, “Cancel Me,” in which Cleese interviews people who are perceived to have been penalized or silenced for making abuses. offensive statements.
In the debate, Graham-Dixon spoke like Hitler, putting a German accent while giving a Nazi salute. “The struggle of culture by taste, my struggle, my struggle, the struggle of Adolf Hitler, I was watercolorist, I was rejected, my German art, my purity, it was rejected,” Graham said. -Dixon with a German accent in front of around 400 listeners. “The romantic tradition of German art was rejected by this modern art, this modern and horrible art that was promoted by the Jews.”
The audience of 400 voted for Graham-Dixon in the debate. At the event, Bradwell congratulated Graham-Dixon on “perhaps the longest Hitler impression this chamber has ever received, a remarkable accomplishment for tonight.” But days later, Bradwell apologized for not interrupting Graham-Dixon.
“I would like to apologize wholeheartedly for the comments made by a speaker during our debate on Thursday evening,” he wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. “Neither I nor the company condone the thoughtless and grotesque language used by the individual in question, and I’m sorry I didn’t intervene at the time. ”
Main photo: John Cleese poses for a photo at a book signing in London, September 10, 2020 (Dave J Hogan / Getty Images)