Is there something about being famous that breaks your brain in such a way that you think you—and only you—should be allowed to say whatever you want without any repercussions? Or is that exclusive to celebrities who believe that people are less deserving of basic human rights than other people? Or is it a social media thing, and everyone thinks they should be allowed to say whatever they want and are shocked to discover that some people might take offense at their openly offensive comments?
Either way, John Cleese has won this weekend’s Just Shut The Fuck Up prize, which, as we all know, is awarded to people who have something stupid to say and refuse to simply shut the fuck up about it. This all seems to have started with someone asking Cleese why he made a point to sign a letter of solidarity with J.K. Rowling over her right to say transphobic bullshit without being held accountable for it. Cleese tip-toed around saying whether or not he agrees with her awful opinions, but repeatedly took up Twitter arms against the cruel “humorless” monster of “wokery.” Someone then asked why he can’t “just let people be who they want to be,” to which he responded that he wants to be a “Cambodian police woman” and asked if that’s “allowed.”
So it’s the same bad-faith bullshit that people always say when they want everyone to know how they feel about transgender people, but Cleese put a finer point on it when another Twitter user asked him to just be upfront about it. His response: “I’m afraid I’m not that interested in trans folks.”
Oh, he hopes “they’re happy and that people treat them kindly,” but he doesn’t especially care about them—well, beyond the fact that he spent several hours on Twitter trying to justify the fact that it’s okay for him to not be “interested” in them, of course. But sure, John Cleese, tell us about how there are more important issues in the world than transgender rights. He’s trying to take some kind of a high road, saying he cares about government corruption and police brutality and diabetes, but he’s not spending tweet after tweet after tweet talking about them. Instead, he’s criticizing people who are trying to debate this issue with him and trying to argue that it’s a “complete lack of a sense of humor” that makes people think dismissing the struggles of transgender people is offensive.
Maybe that argument could work if he were actually being funny, but he’s not (see: this sexist joke he made about Dolly Parton in the middle of all this). He’s just an asshole who wants to continue being an asshole by passing it off as some kind of noble crusade.