'Mr. Bean' star Rowan Atkinson compares cancel culture to a 'medieval mob'

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Rowan Atkinson, the actor known for playing the character Mr. Bean, provided his thoughts about the social phenomenon that is online cancel culture.

The British star, 65, told the U.K. Radio Times that it's a scary and dangerous part of the Internet. 

"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," he said, according to Deadline. "It becomes a case of either you’re with us or against us. And if you’re against us, you deserve to be ‘canceled.’"

Atkinson added, "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."

Fellow comedian-actor Ricky Gervais echoed those sentiments when talking about cancel culture and how it impacts the comedy world and his ability to craft new material.

Rowan Atkinson compared cancel culture to a ‘medieval mob.’
(Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images)

On a December episode of the podcast, "SmartLess," he addressed the growing trend and how it can affect people’s livelihoods. 

"The scary thing is being canceled if you say the wrong thing and suddenly Netflix can take you off their platform," he told the hosts. 


"You could be the most woke, politically correct stand-up in the world at the moment, but you don’t know what it’s going to be like in 10 years' time," he continued. "You can get canceled for things you said 10 years ago."

Ricky Gervais argued people get canceled for things they said decades ago. 
(Paul Drinkwater/NBC via AP, File)

Despite cancel culture often serving as a topic that’s frequently on the comedian’s mind, he noted that he believes in the concept of the public holding people accountable. However, he argues that holding a public figure accountable comes to voting with one’s dollar, not in shaming others to do the same. 


"The misunderstanding about cancel culture is some people think you should be able to say anything you want without consequences and that’s not true because we’re members of society and people are allowed to criticize you," he said. "They’re allowed to not buy your things, they’re allowed to burn your DVDs and they’re allowed to turn the telly off. What they’re not allowed to do is to bully other people into not going to see you."

Fox News’ Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.

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