Monty Python member and Fawlty Towers star John Cleese is no stranger to causing some controversy with his social media presence. He has rubbed plenty the wrong way with his takes on Brexit and American life, including criticism of Donald Trump.
This time Cleese brought up the American relationship with firearms, this time with the added stress of the coronavirus pandemic mixed in for good measure. With photos of people lining up outside of gun shops amid the virus panic, the British comedy legend had plenty of fuel for his comments according to Page Six.
Buying guns seems to be the default position for some of the American electorate...
When confronted by something upsetting, they buy guns
Bears...same-sex marriages....global warming...albino raccoons...long words...Hispanics...ANY kind of panics...
Let's go shopping !!!— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) March 25, 2020
"It strikes me that it’s terribly funny that the response of some Americans to a virus is to buy guns," Cleese posted on his Twitter account. It quickly sparked some debate and backlash according to the New York Post. Tennis legend Martina Navratilova chimed to say she was "not laughing" about the notion of adding guns to an already frightening situation.
Others were not as introspective as the tennis star, with some taking up defensive positions against the comedian.
"It strikes me as sad that the British response to exercising an enumerated right is to be quite the condescending wanker," one wrote critically.
"When the police department tells you they won’t be coming out for most 911 calls like they have been doing in many large cities here in the USA then you become the first line of defense for your family.. I’m sorry defending those you love is a foreign concept for you," another added.
"It strikes me as terribly funny that someone think people are buying guns because it a virus. You can't be that thick can you?" a third added to the pile of complaints.
The difference with Cleese compared to other celebs is that he wasn't shy about responding back to his critics.
"I think the British are proud that they DON'T need a gun to make themselves feel manly," he responded to one critic and retweeted it to his page. "And they would feel sympathy for any males suffering from feelings of inadequacy because they don't own a gun."
No, there isn't. You're right...
BUT it would get rid of LOTS of bad guys
That's assuming the good guys shoot better than the bad guys https://t.co/SLd282XNuZ— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) March 27, 2020
"Glad to report that few of them are done with guns," he wrote to another bringing up the stabbings in London.0comments
Despite the humor and outrage, Cleese is reacting to a fact that has been reported in recent weeks. According to USA Today, people are citing "uncertainty and paranoia" as a driving factor for people to purchase firearms right now.
It's an odd time for the debate but nobody is leaving the house for a while.