Skip to content

YIKES! ‘Mr. Bean’ Star Rowan Atkinson Hits Back at Cancel Culture: “The Job is to Offend People”

On Saturday, Mr Bean star Rowan Atkinson has hit back at ‘cancel culture’ and has insisted that comedians should be allowed to make jokes about ‘absolutely anything’ in a free society.

Rowan argued the purpose of comedy was to ‘have the potential to offend’ and said that humor is made to make someone look ‘ridiculous’. He continued by saying he thinks people should be careful about putting restrictions about what comedians are allowed to make jokes about as he railed against cancel culture.

Atkinson spoke with The Irish Times on press circuit for a new Netflix show, Man vs Bee and said ‘It does seem to me that the job of comedy is to offend, or have the potential to offend, and it cannot be drained of that potential, every joke has a victim.’

He told the Radio Times: ‘The problem we have online is that an algorithm decides what we want to see, which ends up creating a simplistic, binary view of society.

‘It becomes a case of either you’re with us or against us. And if you’re against us, you deserve to be ‘cancelled’.

‘It’s important that we’re exposed to a wide spectrum of opinion, but what we have now is the digital equivalent of the medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn.’

He talks about how some on social media take jokes out of their original context in order to stir up anger (“Not all jokes are for everyone”). He says that we’re only beginning to learn how to use the technology. 

“It’s terribly young,” he says. “In terms of the history of man, it’s been around for a very, very short time and we’re still adjusting. Here, in this country, we’ve got something called an Online Safety Bill, which is only possibly coming into the Houses of Parliament soon. And you think ‘Isn’t that sort of 20 years late?’. But you’ve got to live with something for quite a long time to find out how you’re going to live with it.”

Twitter user @carregydefaid outlined the opposing view, saying:

“Rowan Atkinson is wrong. The role of comedy is to entertain, and make people laugh. The role of satire is to punch upwards, or to mock what deserves to be mocked.

Neither of these art forms should be about punching down, hurting or humiliating marginalised or downtrodden people.”

Want the latest in breaking news and insider information on America? Click Here

Follow YikesToday on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

"*" indicates required fields

Is our government corrupt?*
This poll gives you free access to our premium politics newsletter. Unsubscribe at any time.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.