Terry Gilliam is never afraid to speak his mind — even when it may not be the popular opinion.
The 78-year-old, who has made headlines for criticizing the #MeToo movement and defending Johnny Depp amid domestic violence accusations, expounded on comments he made last year after the head of BBC comedy said that if Monty Python was made today, it wouldn’t be “six white Oxbridge blokes” because programming is becoming more diverse. At the time, Gilliam, who rose to stardom as part of the troupe (first as an animator and then as an actor), deemed himself “angry” over what he perceived to be forced diversity, saying, “I no longer want to be a white male, I don’t want to be blamed for everything wrong in the world: I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian. ... My name is Loretta and I’m a BLT, a black lesbian in transition.”
However, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote director said he actually “wasn’t particularly angry” he just “played angry.”
He continued, “The idea is that we’re already excluded because the world has changed. I said, I’m tired of being, as a white male, blamed for everything that’s wrong in the world. So now I want you to call me Loretta. I’m a black lesbian in transition.”
He went on to explain that the Loretta comment came from the 1979 film Life of Brian. “When Eric [Idle’s character] Stan says, ‘I want you to call me Loretta. I want to be a woman.’ People now might take offense at that. And when offense becomes so easy, it takes the fun out of offending!”
Gilliam also addressed the controversy in a recent interview with Yahoo.
“I just find we've always been about trying to expand people's view of the world, and at the moment everything's closing in,” he said. “I feel that you can't speak openly or honestly — you have to tread very carefully. At a certain point, you're not dealing with discussion anymore, you're dealing with knee-jerk reactions, and I hate that. I make noise to cause myself trouble.”
Gilliam continued, “Life of Brian is about to come out again, and it couldn't be more appropriate for the time we're living in. People have always asked, could we do what we did then now? Probably not because there is such fear of causing offense in any form to anybody or any creature or any cardboard box that exists on the planet. The people in power are frightened to allow what Monty Python was about to happen again.”
He concluded, “I think these are sad times. If humor starts becoming limited, we're in trouble. Unless you can keep laughing at the absurdity of the human race, you're missing the point of our existence. We're an absolutely absurd species. I just put my foot in my mouth occasionally by mistake, and then I have to deal with the consequences. That's all it's about.”
In that same interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Gilliam also talked about defending Depp after Amber Heard accused him of abuse.
“I paid great attention when Johnny was being accused of domestic violence,” he told Yahoo Entertainment. “I actually put something out saying, ‘Don’t believe it, not true.’ I questioned the bruise that moved around the face. And I got a lot of s*** for that. Things like, ‘[You] have no idea what he would be like under alcohol or drugs!’ I know the guy really well, and even the evidence that was purported to show how dangerous he was just showed how dangerous to kitchen cabinets he is, not to human beings. I think Johnny can get rather stupid about his reactions to the accusations. I think at the moment it’s a little bit extreme, but he’s a good guy and he’s my friend.”
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