The Old Vic shuts down a Terry Gilliam production because the Python has finally been deemed an official badthinker:
A London theatre has been criticised for “pandering” to mob rule after cancelling a production by Monty Python star Terry Gilliam – reportedly due to staff unrest about his views on trans rights and the #MeToo movement.
80-year-old Gilliam was set to co-direct the musical ‘Into the Woods’ at the Old Vic next year, but the show was abruptly cancelled last week. While no reason was given, entertainment news outlet The Stage reported that there had been dissatisfaction among staff since May, when the production was originally announced.
Staff concerns apparently revolved around Gilliam’s previous comments in the press relating to transgender issues, race, and the #MeToo movement, which some felt were at odds with the theatre’s “culture and values.”
In 2018, Gilliam said during a BBC diversity debate that he tells “the world now I’m a black lesbian.” He repeated those remarks during an interview last year, telling The Independent that he should be able to identify as a “black lesbian in transition.” He also described the #MeToo movement as a “witch hunt” that allowed “decent people” to get “hammered” by “mob mentality,” and called some rape accusers “ambitious adults.”
Describing Chappelle as the “greatest standup comedian alive today,” Gilliam noted in a Facebook post on October 14 that there was a “storm brewing” over the streaming service’s support for the show. The comedy special has been in the news after backlash over allegedly transphobic content – including Chappelle describing gender as a “fact” – with Netflix staff staging walkouts and facing off against the comedian’s supporters.
Two weeks later, the theatre announced on its website that it had “mutually agreed” with co-producers Scenario Two that the “production of ‘Into the Woods’ will not take place at the Old Vic.” The Central London theatre had apparently sold £300,000 worth of tickets for the production of Stephen Sondheim’s 1987 musical.
Despite my own experience, I don’t have any sympathy for Gilliam, Chappelle, or any other Hellmouth celebrity that finds themselves cancelled for trivial social blasphemies. Some of them, like Gilliam, spent their entire careers gleefully sawing away at the civilizational branches upon which they were sitting. Their fall was always inevitable.