Actor and director Terry Gilliam — who gained fame as part of the Monty Python comedy troupe then later as a director and filmmaker — blasted The Old Vic theatre in London and some of its staff after his production of Stephen Sondheim's musical "Into The Woods" was canceled, Yahoo Entertainment reported.
Gilliam, 81, was to co-direct the show next year at the historic venue, the outlet said. But last month, The Old Vic said it was canceling the production amid reports that some staffers were unhappy about "controversial remarks" Gilliam made, Yahoo Entertainment noted.
And Gilliam took aim at those responsible on his Facebook page Monday:
Gilliam wrote: "It is very sad that a great cultural institution like The Old Vic allowed itself to be intimidated into cancelling our production of Into The Woods by a small group of closed-minded, humour-averse ideologues on their staff who, absurdly, call themselves 'The Old Vic 12' ... as if they are the victims of some cruel injustice desperately fighting for their freedom!"
He added: "My unspeakable crime was recommending my Facebook followers to watch a Netflix special by a brilliant and provocative American comedian, and then share with me their opinions. They did and civilisation did not collapse! However, The Old Vic's artistic credibility certainly has."
Gilliam concluded by saying, "Freedom of Speech is often attacked, but I never imagined that Freedom of Recommendation would be under threat as well."
Who's the comedian Gilliam recommended?
Yahoo Entertainment said Gilliam recommended to his nearly half a million Facebook followers that they watch comedian Dave Chappelle's controversial Netflix show "The Closer."
As readers of TheBlaze know, Chappelle has been attacked as transphobic over the last few months over some jokes he told in his comedy special, and leftists far and wide have been savaging him and pushing for his cancellation ever since.
What did Gilliam say about Chappelle?
Gilliam in October went on Facebook to endorse Chappelle and "The Closer":
"I'm encouraging all of you to watch Dave Chappelle's new show, The Closer, on Netflix," he wrote. "To me, he's the greatest standup comedian alive today: incredibly intelligent, socially aware, dangerously provocative, and gut-wrenchingly funny. There is a storm brewing over Netflix's support for the show. I'd love to hear your opinions."
Reactions were mixed with respect to both of Gilliam's Facebook posts — his recommendation of Chappelle and "The Closer" as well as his criticism of The Old Vic and some of its employees for his own show's cancellation.
Here's a sampling of reactions from the latter post:
- "The Great Cancel Witch Hunts of the 2020s, as they may be remembered, will recede into history, just as did the McCarthyism of 1950s America," one commenter wrote. "Freely-discussed ideas, opinions, and unfettered creativity are essential to a healthy society. Love your films Terry Gilliam!"
- "Terry I have the utmost respect for you and your work, if someone can't take a joke then they are missing out," another commenter said.
- "Terry, you are better than this. Chappelle is a great comedian, too, but he went after a whole community that really needs our support in that special, and you recommending it is just adding fuel to a fire that is already out of control," another commenter argued. "The Trans community needs our support and acceptance. They are just normal people, trying to live their lives in peace like everyone else. If we can stop promoting material that tears them down and encourages prejudice, that would be amazing."
- "Thanks for reminding me that I needed to unfollow you," another commenter said.
Gilliam, in his post about The Old Vic cancellation, noted that his "Into the Woods" production "has found a beautiful and welcoming new home, the Theatre Royal in Bath. The show will open August 19, 2022."