Tim Minchin says cancel culture is ‘psychopathic’

Tim Minchin says cancel culture is ‘psychopathic’

Tim Minchin has discussed “cancel culture” in a powerful interview on BBC One’s Newsnight.

The British-Australian comedian and writer, whose musical Groundhog Day is currently playing at London’s Old Vic, is known for challenging convention and speaking out on topics from censorship to Brexit.

Speaking on Friday evening’s episode of Newsnight (2 June), he said: “Oh yeah, I’m worried about being cancelled. The language is hopeless, though.

“There has to be ambiguity, there has to be ambivalence in every conversation. My super progressive lefty friends say, ‘There is no such thing as cancel culture. It’s just powerful people getting what they deserve.’ I mean, that is gaslightingly naive.

“If you still think that, you’re as bad as a climate denier, or if you don’t think there’s a problem with call-out culture or public shaming.”

He continued: “I prefer to talk about public shaming – and it’s for all people, for women and people of colour. If you think it’s just working on old rich, you know, stale, pale male dudes, you’re not looking at the world.

“People are hurt by public shaming when they don’t deserve to be all day, every day.

“And it’s grotesque and it’s psychopathic and it requires that you don’t stand in another person’s shoes.”

While Minchin was talking about “cancel culture” in the context of “policing behaviour and language” in art, and did not directly refer to former This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield, celebrities including broadcaster Piers Morgan and actor Rupert Everett have both jumped to Schofield’s defence this week after a huge public backlash to him admitting to having an affair with a much younger male colleague.

Tim Minchin on ‘Newsnight’ (BBC)
Tim Minchin on ‘Newsnight’ (BBC)

Schofield, 61, resigned from ITV’s This Morning after admitting to an “unwise but not illegal” affair with the employee, whom he first met during a school visit when the man in question was 15.

Morgan wrote on Twitter: “Unless Phillip Schofield’s ex-lover contradicts his version of events to The Sun [and the] BBC, then it’s time to stop this relentless persecution of a guy who’s lost everything and looks right on the edge to me.”

In an interview with Channel 4, Everett said the coverage of Schofield’s affair is “homophobic” and should be “dropped” by the media.

Schofield, who has quit ITV altogether, gave an emotional interview to the BBC earlier this week, in which he suggested that he had experienced suicidal thoughts, stating that his daughters had “saved his life” by looking after him in the aftermath of the scandal, and had been “scared” to let him “out of their sight”.