Ex-Monty Python star Terry Gilliam is a very naughty boy, say Old Vic bosses as the theatre cancels his Into The Woods musical over staff concerns about his views on trans rights and #MeToo

  • The Old Vic theatre announced Into The Woods musical would not take place
  • Former Monty Python star Terry Gilliam had been set to co-direct the production
  • But staff said to be concerned about this views on trans right and #MeToo
  • Two weeks ago Gilliam put his support behind Dave Chappelle over comedian’s controversial Netflix special
  • Old Vic was previously hit by sex abuse allegations over its former artistic director Kevin Spacey

Comedian Terry Gilliam has reportedly been ‘cancelled’ by The Old Vic because of his controversial views around trans rights and the #MeToo movement.

The former Monty Python star, 80, was set to co-direct Stephen Sondheim’s musical Into The Woods next year.

But the theatre unexpectedly announced the cancellation of the show last week, with new reports claiming his involvement had created unrest.

It is believed Old Vic members of staff were upset and one even resigned because of Gilliam’s stance on issues including Harvey Weinstein and trans rights.

Comedian Terry Gilliam has reportedly been ‘cancelled’ by The Old Vic because of his controversial views around trans rights and the #MeToo movement

The former Monty Python star, 80, was set to co-direct Stephen Sondheim’s musical Into The Woods next year, but The Old Vic unexpectedly cancelled it last week.

The announcement comes two weeks after Gilliam urged his 495,000 Facebook followers to watch comedian Dave Chappelle’s controversial new show on Netflix.

‘I’m encouraging all of you to watch Dave Chappelle’s new show, The Closer, on Netflix,’ he wrote. ‘To me, he’s the greatest standup comedian alive today: incredibly intelligent, socially aware, dangerously provocative, and gut-wrenchingly funny. 

Chappelle’s show was branded transphobic by some critics and sparked a staff walk-out at Netflix.

Concerns were said to have been raised in May over Gilliam’s involvement, but bosses had proceeded with the production.

No one from the central London theatre was available to comment last night, but The Old Vic has told The Stage in a statement executive director Kate Varah had met with staff following the show’s announcement in May. 

No one from the central London theatre was available to comment last night, but The Old Vic has told The Stage in a statement executive director Kate Varah (pictured with artistic director Matthew Warchus) had met with staff following the show’s announcement in May

Members of the Old Vic 12 – the organisation’s artistic development scheme – were among those voicing concerns. The Stage has also claimed at least one person resigned.

It was reported that senior management later met Gilliam and his co-director Leah Hausman ‘as a matter of course to discuss our culture and values’.

Writing on its website, the theatre said it had ‘mutually agreed’ with co-producers Scenario Two ‘that the production of Into the Woods will not take place at the Old Vic’.

The Old Vic was seriously affected by the #MeToo movement in 2017 when numerous allegations of sexual assault were brought against actor Kevin Spacey during his tenure as the theatre’s artistic director. 

It was reported that senior management later met Gilliam and his co-director Leah Hausman ‘as a matter of course to discuss our culture and values’

An investigation found 19 people had made allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ against the star. He had worked at the theatre between 2004 and 2015.

In 2018, Gilliam responded to the BBC diversity debate by saying: ‘I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian.’

In January 2020 he sparked a renewed backlash after describing the #MeToo movement as a ‘witch hunt’ that he claimed allowed ‘decent people’ to get ‘hammered’.

The Old Vic was seriously affected by the #MeToo movement in 2017 when numerous allegations of sexual assault were brought against actor Kevin Spacey (pictured) during his tenure as the theatre’s artistic director

Addressing those who have made allegations against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, he added: ‘These were ambitious adults … There are many victims in Harvey’s life, and I feel sympathy for them, but then, Hollywood is full of very ambitious people who are adults and they make choices.’ 

Into the Woods hit Broadway in 1987 before making its West End debut at the Phoenix Theatre in 1990. It was later revived in 2010 at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

It was adapted for the big scream by Disney in 2015 with Meryl Streep, James Corden and Johnny Depp among the A-list cast.

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