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Hugh Bonneville insists it’s possible to respect someone’s work without condoning offensive views

Hugh Bonneville’s cancel culture fears: Downton Abbey star insists it’s possible to respect someone’s work without condoning their offensive views

  • Hugh Bonneville, 57, has cautioned fans about the so-called cancel culture
  • The actor is set to star as Roald Dahl, who had anti-Semitic views, in To Olivia
  • Dahl’s family apologised last December for comments he made in a 1983 article

Hugh Bonneville has urged caution over so-called cancel culture, saying it is possible to respect someone’s work without condoning their offensive views or actions.

The Downton Abbey star, 57, plays Roald Dahl in his latest film To Olivia and said that although he ‘decries’ the author’s anti-Semitic views, he did not carry them into his portrayal as they were ‘not relevant to this particular performance’. 

Last December, Dahl’s family apologised for anti-Semitic comments the author made in a 1983 New Statesman article.

Asked about Dahl’s views on the BBC podcast Loose Ends, Bonneville, pictured, said: ‘You have to hold in balance the work someone creates and the personality. 

Hugh Bonneville (pictured) has urged caution over so-called cancel culture, saying it is possible to respect someone’s work without condoning their offensive views or actions

‘You despise the views of the person but the work that they produce may be of the highest form of art, or at least popular form of art.’

Bonneville also expressed his confusion over how imaginative people can be while producing films and art without offending people, asking ‘what dark corners are we allowed to explore and not explore?’

During the podcast, he was asked about how some people are ‘troubled’ by Dahl’s Oompa Loompa characters and the racist connotations they might have.

Bonneville accepted that ‘these things are picked over these days’.

Last December, Dahl's family apologised for anti-Semitic comments the author made in a 1983 New Statesman article. Pictured: Roald Dahl in 1976

Last December, Dahl’s family apologised for anti-Semitic comments the author made in a 1983 New Statesman article. Pictured: Roald Dahl in 1976

He said: ‘I think there is a pendulum swinging at the moment to do with cancel culture – that all the films of Harvey Weinstein should be burned or something.

‘But actually, the art that he produced was memorable in our contemporary culture.

‘So I think there is a discussion to be had certainly, and one that must hold these things in balance without condoning in any way the [offensive] views.’

Hollywood mogul Weinstein, 68, was revealed as a sex predator as a result of the Me Too movement, having produced some of the film industry’s biggest blockbusters during his career.

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