'Monty Python' star Terry Gilliam clarifies his 'I’m tired of being, as a white male, blamed for everything' comments

Terry Gilliam is never afraid to speak his mind — even when it may not be the popular opinion.

The 78-year-old, who has made headlines for criticizing the #MeToo movement and defending Johnny Depp amid domestic violence accusations, expounded on comments he made last year after the head of BBC comedy said that if Monty Python was made today, it wouldn’t be “six white Oxbridge blokes” because programming is becoming more diverse. At the time, Gilliam, who rose to stardom as part of the troupe (first as an animator and then as an actor), deemed himself “angry” over what he perceived to be forced diversity, saying, “I no longer want to be a white male, I don’t want to be blamed for everything wrong in the world: I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian... My name is Loretta and I’m a BLT, a black lesbian in transition.”

However, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote director said he actually “wasn’t particularly angry” he just “played angry.”

He continued, “The idea is that we’re already excluded because the world has changed. I said, I’m tired of being, as a white male, blamed for everything that’s wrong in the world. So now I want you to call me Loretta. I’m a black lesbian in transition.”

He went on to explain that the Loretta comment came from the 1979 film Life of Brian. “When Eric [Idle’s character] Stan says, ‘I want you to call me Loretta. I want to be a woman.’ People now might take offense at that. And when offense becomes so easy, it takes the fun out of offending!”

Terry Gilliam in recent years
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Terry Gilliam in recent years
HOTEL BERNINI, ROM, ITALY - 2018/09/21: American director Terry Gilliam during the photocall for the presentation of his new film 'L'uomo che uccise Don Chisciotte'. (Photo by Matteo Nardone/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 10: Terry Gilliam attends the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations: 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' at The Robin Williams Center on April 10, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 1045 -- Pictured: Film director Terry Gilliam during an interview on April 10, 2019 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10: Terry Gilliam heads to NBC Studios on April 10, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Adrian Edwards/GC Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 14: Terry Gilliam attending The Roundhouse Fundraising Gala 2019 London 14th March 2019 PHOTOGRAPH BY Peter / Barcroft Images (Photo credit should read Peter / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2018/10/16: Terry Gilliam seen posing for the camera during the European Premiere 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' and Laugh Gala at the 62nd BFI London Film Festival. (Photo by GMP Media/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 16: Terry Gilliam attends the European Premiere 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' and Laugh Gala at the 62nd BFI London Film Festival on October 16, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BFI)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 10: Terry Gilliam attends the European Premiere of 'Widows' and opening night gala of the 62nd BFI London Film Festival on October 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Gilliam also addressed the controversy in a recent interview with Yahoo.

“I just find we've always been about trying to expand people's view of the world, and at the moment everything's closing in,” he said. “I feel that you can't speak openly or honestly — you have to tread very carefully. At a certain point, you're not dealing with discussion anymore, you're dealing with knee-jerk reactions, and I hate that. I make noise to cause myself trouble.”

Gilliam continued, “Life of Brian is about to come out again, and it couldn't be more appropriate for the time we're living in. People have always asked, could we do what we did then now? Probably not because there is such fear of causing offense in any form to anybody or any creature or any cardboard box that exists on the planet. The people in power are frightened to allow what Monty Python was about to happen again.”

He concluded, “I think these are sad times. If humor starts becoming limited, we're in trouble. Unless you can keep laughing at the absurdity of the human race, you're missing the point of our existence. We're an absolutely absurd species. I just put my foot in my mouth occasionally by mistake, and then I have to deal with the consequences. That's all it's about.”

In that same interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Gilliam also talked about defending Depp after Amber Heard accused him of abuse.

“I paid great attention when Johnny was being accused of domestic violence,” he told Yahoo Entertainment. “I actually put something out saying, ‘Don’t believe it, not true.’ I questioned the bruise that moved around the face. And I got a lot of s*** for that. Things like, ‘[You] have no idea what he would be like under alcohol or drugs!’ I know the guy really well, and even the evidence that was purported to show how dangerous he was just showed how dangerous to kitchen cabinets he is, not to human beings. I think Johnny can get rather stupid about his reactions to the accusations. I think at the moment it’s a little bit extreme, but he’s a good guy and he’s my friend.”

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