Rowan Atkinson Compares Cancel Culture to “Medieval Mob Looking for Someone To Burn”
By Movieguide® Staff
Actor and comedian Rowan Atkinson, known for his roles as MR. BEAN and JOHNNY ENGLISH, compared cancel culture and the rise of “social media warriors” to a “medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn.”
In a recent interview, the British star accused social media users and platforms of needless polarization and fears that the mob’s readiness to “cancel” someone could result in a direct attack on freedom of speech.
“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 ‘canceled’,” Atkinson told Radio Times.
Atkinson continued: “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. So it is scary for anyone who’s a victim of that mob and it fills me with fear about the future.”
Although the 65-year-old is best known for portraying Mr. Bean, he said that he wants to bring back his iconic BBC comedy THE BLACK ADDER. The 1980s comedy, written by Atkinson, Ben Elton and Richard Curtis, follows the time-hopping comics with stars such as Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.
Although Atkinson said that he was ready for the end of Mr. Bean, he noted that he is in the process of making an animated MR. BEAN movie.
“It’s easier for me to perform the character vocally than visually,” Atkinson said. “I don’t much enjoy playing him. The weight of responsibility is not pleasant. I find it stressful and exhausting and I look forward to the end of it.”