Pan Pylas, AP, June 12, 2020
One of the most memorable episodes of one of the most popular British sitcoms of all-time has been withdrawn from a U.K. streaming service because of numerous racial slurs.
UKTV, a streaming service owned by the BBC, confirmed Friday that it was temporarily removing the 1975 Fawlty Towers episode “The Germans.”
In the episode, hotel owner Basil Fawlty is seen rocking back when a black man approaches him in the hospital where his wife Sybil is readying for an operation on an in-growing toenail, only to find out that he’s the doctor.
Fawlty, who is played by John Cleese of “Monty Python” fame, is also seen goose-stepping around while shouting “don’t mention the war” in front of a group of visiting Germans after a bout of concussion.
But what’s causing particular offense, is a scene involving one of the hotel’s long-time guests, an elderly major, who uses deeply offensive language about the West Indies and India cricket teams.
Cleese has criticized the decision, describing those who fail to see the episode is a critique of racism rather than an endorsement of it as “stupid.”
While questioning attempts to airbrush the past, Cleese expressed his support for the aims of the Black Lives Matter protest movement.
“At the moment there is a huge swell of anger and a really admirable feeling that we must make our society less discriminatory, and I think that part of it is very good,” he said.