Rowan Atkinson has come out in support of Boris Johnson's controversial burqa comment

Lowenna Waters
Friday 10 August 2018 09:15
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Picture:(Eamonn M. McCormack / Getty Images )

Rowan Atkinson, aka Mr Bean, has defended Boris Johnson's burqa comments, saying that you only need to apologise if you make a 'bad joke'.

In a letter to The Times, the British actor said that all jokes about religion cause offence, and that the only types of jokes that require an apology are bad ones.

Writing in The Times, he said:

As a lifelong beneficiary of the freedom to make jokes about religion, I do think that Boris Johnson’s joke about wearers of the burqa resembling letterboxes is a pretty good one.

All jokes about religion cause offence, so it’s pointless apologising for them. ‘You should really only apologise for a bad joke. On that basis, no apology is required.

The comments Rowan Atkinson was responding to were made by Uxbridge MP Boris Johnson on Monday in a column in The Telegraph. Writing in the right wing paper, he said that Muslim women wearing burqas 'look like letter boxes', and 'bank robbers'.

Yesterday, it was announced that the former foreign secretary will face a Conservative Party investigation over his comments, after receiving complaints about his widely criticised remarks.

Atkinson isn't the only person to defend Johnson's 'Islamophobic' remarks. Former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell said that the MP had used "colourful language" but had not committed an offence.

Mr Mitchell, who was chief whip in 2012, told BBC News Night:

I don’t think he should apologise.

But I think what’s important is that the procedures of the party now take place.

This is quite an important issue about free speech and it’s got nothing to do with the dreadful events that take place over Enoch Powell and the Rivers of Blood speech.

Boris was speaking out against a ban of the type that’s taken place in Denmark and some other countries.

Mr Johnson, who is currently holidaying abroad, has refused to apologise for the comments, and sources close to the MP have said he still stands by his comments, reports ITV. Disciplinary action could result in Mr Johnson being suspended or expelled from the Tories.

100 women who wear the burqa have also written an open letter responding to the comments, demanding that Johnson is kicked out of the party. In the letter, they argue that they are "free women" who make their own choices, and that Boris' comments make "it easier for bigots to justify hate crime against us", reports Sky News.

More: 9 problematic comments that Boris Johnson has been called on to apologise for

More: Which countries has Boris Johnson offended as Foreign Secretary?

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