Actor Rowan Atkinson has this week expressed his fears over "cancel culture", and what it means for the future of free speech...

And, as you'd expect from the satirical actor, he didn't hold back.

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Keep scrolling to hear what he had to say...

Now, the so-called cancel-culture has been dominating the virtual world as of late.

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Traditionally, the term "canceled" means to "dismiss something", or to "reject an individual or an idea", as per Dictionary.

But, in the last year or so, the act of "canceling" has taken on a whole new meaning entirely.

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Canceling someone - whether it be rejecting them, ignoring them, publicly opposing their views or actions, or depriving them of time and attention - has become the go-to tactic for disgruntled and offended internet-goers.

Celebrities and public figures are the most common targets of this new cancel-culture.

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Perhaps the most memorable example is the previously-beloved mastermind behind the Harry Potter franchise, J.K Rowling, who was savagely "canceled" after expressing her views on women and gender.

In June last year, the author shared a link to an article titled: "Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate."

She then commented: "'People who menstruate’. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"

The backlash was astounding...

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And, almost instantly, the internet was alight with allegations of transphobia and even some calls for Rowling and the Harry Potter franchise to be canceled and boycotted entirely.

Another high-profile figure to face the wrath of cancel culture recently was Ivanka Trump.

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Amid President Trump's controversial response to the BLM protests last summer, his daughter was hastily dropped by Wichita State University Tech in Kansas just hours after it had been revealed she would be giving a speech to its students.

Obviously, Ivanka was furious with the decision...

And blasted both the university and cancel-culture, pointing out that "campuses should be bastions of free speech."

So, as you can see from these examples alone...

On social platforms such as Twitter, canceling users with opposing views has become the norm - but does that mean it's the way forward?

In recent months, more and more people have been speaking out against cancel culture...

By arguing that it is a form of bullying and will be the "death of free speech."

Of course, celebrities have been at the forefront of this fight against cancelation.

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An open letter to Harper’s Magazine in July last year was signed by more than 150 prominent authors and journalists, including J.K Rowling, Salman Rushdie, and Margaret Atwood, decrying what they see as a loss of open debate and tolerance as a result of cancel-culture.

Even former POTUS, Barack Obama, who is famously left-wing, has called out cancel-culture.

In an eye-opening speech at an Obama Foundation event in 2019, he told those who are "politically woke" to "get over that", and pointed out that canceling people online "isn't activism." "That’s not bringing about change," he said. “If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far. That’s easy to do."

So, as you can see, there are many celebrities who are not the biggest fans of the internet's new obsession with cancelation...

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And the latest to speak out against the ideology is the man behind Blackadder and Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson.

Now, Atkinson is known for his dry and satirical demeanor...

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And has long advocated for free speech, as well as campaigning against legislation he believed would "stifle expression."

So, when asked about his thoughts on cancel-culture...

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He didn't hesitate in expressing his distaste.

Speaking in a recent interview, the famed actor detailed his thoughts on the “scary" online practice of silencing unpopular opinions.

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“It’s important that we’re exposed to a wide spectrum of opinion," Atkinson told the Radio Times this week.

He then compared online cancelers as a "medieval mob."

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“But what we have now is the digital equivalent of the medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn."

The actor elaborated:

“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 ‘canceled’."

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He then acknowledged that the overwhelming popularity of Mr. Bean may be down to the character - who is mostly mute - being verbally unable to offend those with “greater sensitivities."

What're your thoughts on cancel-culture?

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Like Atkinson, do you believe it's a slippery slope to the death of free speech? Or do you think it's an effective way of keeping inflammatory comments at bay? For more on the divisive topic of cancel-culture, keep scrolling...