The phrase “drop the culture” has become a ubiquitous catchphrase that celebrities can latch on to after making a controversial or offensive statement.
But Graham Norton doesn’t think that’s an accurate description of what actually happens when fans criticize “cancelled” people. He says the right word is “responsibility”.
Norton, a BBC talk show host, tackled the thorny issue of “cultural abandonment” at the Cheltenham Literature Festival this week. Speaking to interviewer Mariella Frostrup, Norton decried the concept of “cancelling” anyone who still has a large speaking platform.
“You read a lot of articles in the papers from people complaining about the cancellation of culture,” he told Frostrup. “In what world do you think you are rejected? I’m reading your name in a newspaper, or you’re doing an interview about how horrible it is to cancel”.
“I think [‘cancel culture’] it’s the wrong word,” he continued. “I think the word should be accountability.”
He referred to John Cleese, the Monty Python veteran who has been criticized for “cancelling the culture” and “awakened” fans who demand comics withdraw offensive material. Cleese has faced backlash in recent years for controversial comedy routines, including his 2021 Hitler impression and jokes about slavery at the South by Southwest festival in March.
“It must be very difficult to be a man of an age who has been able to say whatever he wants for years, and now suddenly there are questions,” Norton said after Cleese was appointed. “It’s free speech, but not without consequences.”
Frostrup asked Norton about “Harry Potter” author JK Rowling he proclaimed has been “banned” for repeatedly expressing anti-transgender views. Norton, without mentioning Rowling by name, said that, as a “lock in the series”, her voice – and the voices of other celebrities such as Rowling – have been “artificially amplified” on non-expert subjects.
“If people want to shed light on those issues, and I hope they do, talk to trans people,” she told Frostrup. “Talk to parents of trans kids. Talk to doctors, talk to psychiatrists. Talk to someone who can shed some light on this.
“Can we fight some f*****g experts…rather than a man in a sparkly pink suit?” he asked to the laughter of the audience.
Norton, an out-gay man, has advocated for the rights of LGBTQ people for years and regularly uses his series and other interviews as a platform for those views. Speaking to the Sunday Times last year, Norton, who is a judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK,” said trans people “should be protected rather than feared” and said it was a “huge privilege” to meet and love trans people. the people