- Mr Atkinson's thoughts on 'cancel culture' triggered the Internet
- His comment seems to have divided social media's freely-expressed opinion
- The Internet is split between agreeing with him and denouncing his view
It's Rowan Atkinson's birthday today - he's 66 this year - but that isn't why the beloved British comic is furiously trending. The star of Mr Bean spoke extensively to Radio Times on several subjects including the possible return of cult comedy series Blackadder but it is his thoughts on 'cancel culture' that seem to have triggered the Internet. Mr Atkinson expressed fear over the shrinking freedom of speech and deplored the sort of ostracization that 'cancel culture' deals out, comparing it to "medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn." Words that Edmund Blackadder himself would have been proud to use.
As quoted by Deadline and other international media outlets, Rowan Atkinson told 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. So it is scary for anyone who's a victim of that mob and it fills me with fear about the future."
Rowan Atkinson's comment appears to have divided social media's freely-expressed opinion - the Internet is split between agreeing with him and denouncing his view as dangerously outdated. Most recently, Harry Potter author J K Rowling was 'cancelled' because of remarks she made about the transgender community.
In his interview to Radio Times, Rowan Atkinson also said that while he finds playing Mr Bean "stressful and exhausting" he doesn't rule out a fresh outing for the Blackadder series - a return is "certainly not impossible," the actor said. Blackadder, which ran for our seasons, starred Mr Atkinson as the eponymous antihero leading a cast that included Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, among other British comedic stars.
Rowan Atkinson is also known for his roles in films such as Four Weddings And A Funeral and The Lion King as well as the star of the Johnny English movies and TV series Maigret.