Theatre cancels Sondheim after staff #Metoo uproar

Theatre cancels Sondheim after staff #Metoo uproar


norman lebrecht

November 02, 2021

In an extraordinary new eruption of cancel culture, London’s Old Vic Theatre has called off a 2022 production of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods’ after some staff members objected to #Metoo views attributed to the director Terry Gilliam.

The former Monty Python star, now 80, is alleged to have belittled the #Metoo movement, downplayed Harvey Weinstein’s crimes and  rallied support for the comedian Dave Chapelle who is currently being attacked by trans activists.

After a brief protest, a decision was taken by the theatre’s management to cancel the show. It is another cave-in to a campus mob without reasoned discussion of the issues. Increasingly, the theatre is no longer a place of free speech.

Here’s what Gilliam actually said about Weinstein: ‘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. We all make choices and I could tell you who did make the choice and who didn’t. I hate Harvey. I had to work with him and I know the abuse.’





  • Ich bin Ereignis says:

    Oh my. Truth-telling never goes very well with humanity as a whole, it’s been the same for the past 2500 years or so — that’s why Socrates had to drink the hemlock — so it’s not about to change anytime soon. He’s absolutely right, many (not all) of these “me too” activists were opportunistic actors/actresses who would probably do close to anything to get ahead in their profession — “me too” should really be redefined as “me wanting my cake and eating it too.” This does not mean condoning people like Weinstein — but merely putting back in the picture the old-fashioned concept of personal responsibility. In fact, some of these “me too” activists were later revealed to be themselves sexual harassers, and yet continued to be defended by prominent, world-renowned intellectuals who had absolutely no qualms supporting the notion of a double standard. The whole thing is just another sign of a culture in severe decline and on its last leg before complete collapse.

    • Karl says:

      Asia Argento? SHE is the rapist. I bet if you look closely enough at all the metoo morons you would find that they are all nothing but a bunch of degenerate perverts or nuutjobs.

  • Franco says:

    It surely feels like the world of arts keeps hardly defensible double standards.

    In a widely quoted summer interview with Aldo Cazzullo (Corriere delle Sera), the thick-skinned, very famous Maestro Riccardo Muti said: “With Metoo, Da Ponte and Mozart would end up in prison”.

    If we look at this statement closely, we can reflect that those who ended up in prison because of Metoo issues are the likes of Harvey Weinstein.

    So what was Maestro Riccardo Muti trying to say exactly:

    That Harvey Weinstein wasn’t a rapist?
    That Da Ponte and Mozart were rapists?
    That rapists do not belong in jail?
    That Metoo is preventing famous powerful people (including powerful Maestros) from doing what they were always be free to do before, which is harassing women?

    Why isn’t the mob looking into this? We expect fair and equitable treatment from the mob.

    In addition, it would seem wise for Chicago Symphony to look into this statement and other racist or otherwise unacceptable statements from Muti which have been discussed on this website already.

    • In 1979, my wife, Abbie Conant, won the audition for first trombone in the Maggio Musicale in Florence. Muti was the GMD. He vetoed the audition results with the explanation that there were already too many women in the orchestra. So they took the man who came in second. There seems to be a correlation between attitudes about MeToo and respect for women in general.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Mostly people think it’s all gone way too far and the presumption that one half of the world’s population is inherently better than the other is typically infantile lunacy.

    • Bet says:

      An inconvenient truth.

      Chicago has been awfully quiet about recent interviews and revelations in the Italian press about Muti, regarding #metoo, Blacks, women, Asians, trans, when in the past, the CSO press office could not jump fast enough to translate and to distribute positive articles.

      • CSOA Insider says:

        There is a reason. Jeff Alexander is not an obtuse individual. He knows that with Muti the institution is sitting on a most rowdy Pandora’s box with many openings. If he tries to close one door, another one may open, worse than the first.

  • Teresa says:

    Here is one liberal who is totally over cancel culture.

    • V. Lind says:

      I’m one who abhorred it from the first time I ever heard it existed. Same with trigger warnings, which I first heard about on an excellent CBC radio programme hosted by the great Michael Enright — the whole idea appalled me. I have come to feel the same way about all this “unsafe” nonsense in classrooms — young adults who feel “unsafe” if they see a movie, FCS. And all the other woke nonsense.

      It all adds up to the same thing — a faiblesse which for some reason (treating students as “customers,” I suppose) administrations endorse. But why are they encouraging students, whom in some respects they are supposed to be preparing for life, to feel so unable to cope with anything they do not automatically like?

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Dr. Jordan Peterson recently speculated that this snowflake generation is probably a consequence of the ‘Little Emperor Syndrome’. Families which now only have 1 or 2 children and on whom their parents endow everything, helicopter parent, over-indulge and teach them that whatever they utter is of cosmic importance.

        • V. Lind says:

          I don’t often agree with your hero but I do on this — I have written here to the point of predictability that I blame a lot of this and similar on child-centric rearing, which amounts to the same thing. Every time I hear a parent of a young child say that they have to “negotiate” with them over something, I want to smack them (the parent).

  • Alan says:

    What really gets them is that people like Gilliam have more talent in a fingernail than these people have in their whole bodies.

    I won’t be going to the Old Vic again

  • “…but then Hollywood is full of very ambitious people who are adults and they make choices. We all make choices and I could tell you who did make the choice and who didn’t.”

    Where does choice end and coercion begin? What are we to think of men who exploit those complexities and cause profound harm? Does Gilliam need to give some thought to these questions?

    • V. Lind says:

      Sure, but is there no point at which a young woman, faced with the option of servicing a pig like Weinstein or not getting the role says to herself “it’s not worth it?” (I’m sure many did). Some, like Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino, saw what looked like blazing early careers fizzle out, so there was indeed a cost for telling him to sod off.

      “Me Too” was necessary, overdue and has done a lot of good. But if the wokies are using it to jump on every comment, in or out of context, it joins other good causes — like the original impetus of BLM — in having been co-opted for what seems to be a very fascistic, cultural revolution-ish dictatorship of the lazy and unthinking.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Perhaps Gilliam is really an adult who knows that the choices we make form a big part of the respect that we earn from others and that this can protect us from an awful lot of rubbish. Not all of it, but most.

  • Bet says:

    “I hate Harvey. I had to work with him and I know the abuse.”

    Really? You had to perform fellatio on Weinstein? You allowed yourself to be penetrated by Weinstein?

    Do mansplain to us how Hollywood is full of ambitious people making choices they ought to live with.

    • Edmund S. says:

      Here’s some mansplaining..

      All the actresses and female news anchors you worship on what’s left of mainstream media have ALL “taken one for the Democrat team” multiple times in order to GET and KEEP their high paying jobs! Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose and the lot got chucked in the bin. You probably miss them. Twat!

      Need facts? Try #metoo and the scores of leftist organizations who enabled so many to speak up.

      The real world operates more harshly and commonly than the fantasy narratives you people choose to watch and adopt as truth. It’s not. Women are still 2nd at best like Kamala. Men (Democrats specifically) treat women and each other like trash after all these years, presidents, slogans and liberal drivel. Nobody is cheering for Biden the White savior anymore. Look at the recent US polls if you can work it out.

      PS Gail King is only on the news because she’s Oprah’s gal pal!!

  • Cuckly Cuckington says:

    Nice to see others like me (and my wife ;)) remembering that coercion is bad again.

  • Guest says:

    I really, really hate people using “cancel culture”, “woke”, and “SJW” as accusations when people are trying to follow their consciences. “I had to work with him and I know the abuse.” This sad statement tells me he was aware of what was going on – was complicit in the harassment and assault of women – and did nothing. Yes, he’s talented, but can you blame these actors and actresses for not wanting to work with him? I don’t want to work with someone who might look the other way as a rape occurs. It doesn’t make me a “snowflake”. The dismissive tone of this article (“campus mob”) is poor journalism, and disrespectful to the professional men and women involved in the production.

    • James says:

      I’m certain that isn’t what he was referring to. When he worked with the Weinsteins on The Brothers Grimm he got into furious arguments with them. If you read Peter Biskind’s quite old book about indie cinema it’s quiet clear the mental abuse that Harvey put almost everyone he worked with through. There are other forms of abuse.

  • leo grinhauz says:

    y’know what? Terry doesn’t give a hoot. He’s 80, a success story, and he doesn’t need us. He’ll laugh all the way home while little nothinggarians argue about which way is up. Wow, people are bored.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    You very definitely cannot have ‘views’ different from the mob.

    McCarthyism lives.

  • Evan Tucker says:

    I don’t understand why people can’t accept that this is an extremely complicated issue and everyone with a point of view in this fight has legitimate points. Has the internet really obliterated our ability to remember that being a human operating in the world is horrifically difficult at the best of times?

  • Monsoon says:

    “Hollywood is full of very ambitious people who are adults and they make choices. We all make choices and I could tell you who did make the choice and who didn’t.”

    Weinstein was accused, charged, and convicted of rape.

    There are further rape charges pending.

    Do you not understand why many people might have a problem with a guy who said that getting raped was a “choice”?

  • Franklin says:

    Written like a total choad. They canceled one show because people find the man objectionable and the theater is keeping up with the times. What boomers want to go see some 80 year old in stage, time we moved on was 20 years ago.

    People complain about “cancel culture,” but the public has a right to voice things they find objectionable, and theaters are allowed to cater to that public. Go watch your reruns and complain about millennials, in the mean time society is moving on.

    • Allen says:

      But the public hasn’t complained – it never got the chance.

      Some people here seem to have reading difficulties.

    • Ms.Melody says:

      You are so right. Society is moving on, all the way back to the times of Stalinist repressions and Chinese cultural revolution. But…one needs to be aware of history beyond the last 20 years to notice.

  • David says:

    The headline suggests that Sondheim, the person, is being canceled.

  • PFmus says:

    Where exactly is the “campus” gratuitously mentioned here? What was the reason for calling this a ‘campus’ mob other than to amplify the rancor by pandering to the anti-education resentments of the far right reader?

  • BigSir says:

    If an 80 year old can’t say what they think, its a sad state of affairs.

  • Gary Freer says:

    Sadly, we all now expect the new Spanish Inquisition

  • christopher storey says:

    Err…. has something gone wrong with the alignment of the comments with the headline ? This thread appears to be about Gilliam, but the comments are all about Muti ??

  • Zandonai says:

    Breaking Woke News – San Francisco Opera’s Department of Diversity, Equity and Community Offers November Interactive Conversations: “If Only They’d Written an Opera”

  • Gilliam sounds pretty level-headed. Can’t have that attitude when you work for woke or cowardly organizations.