I’m a black lesbian: 'Monty Python' star Terry Gilliam criticizes BBC's diversity plan
Recently, BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning, Shane Allen, expressed the channel’s commitment to representation of all kinds in the comedy sector
Representation has become an extremely important part of the media industry and several content producers are committing to casting characters that reflect the current state of society. Such commitments are often met with appreciation. Recently, BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning, Shane Allen, expressed the channel’s commitment to representation of all kinds in the comedy sector, saying, “the stories that haven’t been told and the voices we haven’t yet heard.”
He also went on to reference 'Monty Python', saying, “If you’re going to assemble a team now, it’s not going to be six Oxbridge white blokes. It’s going to be a diverse range of people who reflect the modern world.” However, former 'Monty Python' creator Terry Gilliam seemed to disagree and called the comment a whole load of "b******t," The Guardian reported.
Terry’s response to Shane’s comment came at a press conference at the Karlovy Vary film festival. He interpreted the statement to be a personal attack of some kind instead of a commitment to providing equal opportunities. He even implied that being a white male in this era is a disadvantage.
He said: “It made me cry: The idea that ... no longer six white Oxbridge men can make a comedy show. Now we need one of this, one of that, everybody represented... this is b******t. I no longer want to be a white male, I don’t want to be blamed for everything wrong in the world: I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian... My name is Loretta and I’m a BLT, a black lesbian in transition.”
He continued expressing his anger and said, “[Allen’s] statement made me, all of us so angry. Comedy is not assembled, it’s not like putting together a boy band where you put together one of this, one of that... everyone is represented.”
Another member of the 'Monty Python' cast John Cleese commented on BBC's statement via Twitter. He wrote: "BBC's Head of Comedy puts Monty Python's lack of originality down to a surfeit of education and racist bias. Unfair! We were remarkably diverse FOR OUR TIME. We had three grammar-school boys, one a poof, and Gilliam, though not actually black, was a Yank. And NO slave-owners."
Twitter users were quick to comment on this post. Some sarcastically pointed out that 'Monty Python' was in fact not diverse, tweeting, "It was about as diverse as a packet of polos." While others mirrored Terry's opinions, tweeting, "The #bbc don’t know the meaning of comedy these days! They are so crippled by political correctness, they can’t offer anything that might offend the professional offendees out there!"
Another tweeted, "So long as it's FUNNY, it shouldn't matter what the performer's background is. Box ticking is not going to help the Beeb." Some fans even questioned those calling the show unoriginal, writing, "Whatever anyone wants to accuse Python of, lack of originality should never be near the list."
Not too long ago, Terry received a lot of backlash for the comments he made on the MeToo movement and Harvey Weinstein in an interview with Agence France-Presse. He mentioned that he thinks Harvey only got caught because he was an "asshole."
He also said: “Harvey opened the door for a few people, a night with Harvey — that’s the price you pay. I think some people did very well out of meeting with Harvey and others didn’t. The ones who did knew what they were doing. These are adults; we are talking about adults with a lot of ambition. It’s like when mob rule takes over, the mob is out there, they are carrying their torches and they are going to burn down Frankenstein’s castle. It’s crazy how simplified things are becoming.”
Director Judd Apatow was quick to call out Terry on his insights. He tweeted, "Terry Gilliam’s comments about Harvey Weinstein are idiotic and dangerous. He wasn’t in those rooms. He doesn’t know how aggressive and violent and terrifying he was. Who is he to say it was some sort of offered deal? He should be ashamed of himself."
Other prominent figures in the industry were quick to join in and criticize Terry's comments. Actor Ellen Barkin tweeted, “Terry Gilliam, you talk too much.” She also added while referring to Terry's interview, "This interview turns my stomach. Terry Gilliam is the last man to admonish a movement that is trying to protect women from abusive men. #MeToo"
Terry also took a shot at President Donald Trump in the interview, pointing out that, despite the MeToo movement, “a self-confessed pussy-grabber is the president of the US and is just walking around” unchallenged.