Mr. Bean is waging war against proposed legislation
Could make cracking jokes about gay people illegal
Bryan Ochalla | November 09, 2007
LONDON — Britain�s Mr. Bean is waging war against proposed legislation that could make cracking jokes about gay people illegal.
Rowan Atkinson aka Mr Bean
According to a report at telegraph.co.uk, Rowan Atkinson recently sent a letter to British newspapers accusing the country�s leaders of wasting their time on measures that have �serious implications for freedom of speech, humour and creative expression.�
The legislation that has the Blackadder star seeing red is known as the Criminal Justice Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament and if passed could put people in prison for up to seven years for "stirring up hatred against homosexuals."
In his letter, Atkinson said the legislation seems to be "infinitely extendable.�
"Witness the fact that the government has invited two additional groups – the disabled and transsexuals – to 'make the case' for the proposed legislation to be extended to them," he added.
"I am sure that they could make a very good case, as indeed could all those who can claim that they cannot help being the way they are," Atkinson said. "Men, for example, or women. Or people with big ears.
"The devil, as always, will be in the detail, but the casual ease which some people move from finding something offensive to wishing to declare it criminal – and are then able to find factions within government to aid their ambitions – is truly depressing," he finished.
This isn�t the first time the comedian has gotten serious about protecting freedom of speech. In 2004 he mounted a successful campaign to water down legislation aimed at criminalizing expressions of religious hatred. – Gay Link Content
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