John Cleese has been branded “embarrassingly ghastly” after using a homophobic slur during an interview on Radio 4.
The actor appeared on the ‘Today’ programme on Tuesday when he used the antiquated term “poof” to describe his former ‘Monty Python’ co-star Graham Chapham.
When the 78-year-old was asked by presenter Nick Robinson about diversity among the ‘Monty Python’ troupe, Cleese referred to Terry Gilliam’s recent comment about being “a black lesbian”.
Earlier this month Gilliam said the idea of increasing minority representation was “bullshit,” adding that “I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian… My name is Loretta and I’m a BLT, a black lesbian in transition.”
In response to that comment, Cleese said: “Well that’s true. As you know Terry has decided he’s a black lesbian. And Graham Chapman – I’m not allowed to use the word poof, am I? – what have I got to say?”
When the host pointed out that Cleese had already used the slur, he added: “Right. Graham was homosexual and also dead. So that’s a certain amount of diversity.”
His choice of words did not go down well with many listeners, including comic Jenny Eclair, who took to Twitter to describe Cleese as “quite embarrassingly ghastly”.
During the same interview, Nick Robinson suggested the former comedian’s planned move to the Caribbean island of Nevis later this year was “because he doesn’t have to pay tax and he has four marriages to pay for”, Cleese replied: “People will find some discreditable reason.”