Rowan Atkinson has hit back at cancel culture and has insisted that comedians should be allowed to make jokes about ‘absolutely anything’ in a free society.

The Mr Bean star, 67, said the purpose of comedy was to ‘have the potential to offend’ and argued that humour is made to make someone look ‘ridiculous’.

Rowan said he thinks people should be careful about putting restrictions about what comedians are allowed to make jokes about as he railed against cancel culture.

He told the Irish Times: ‘It does seem to me that the job of comedy is to offend, or have the potential to offend, and it cannot be drained of that potential, every joke has a victim.’

Rowan, who has been working in comedy for more than four decades, also addressed the suggestion that jokes should ‘punch up’ at those in power and not be directed down.

He added: ‘There are lots of extremely smug and self-satisfied people in what would be deemed lower down in society, who also deserve to be pulled up. In a proper free society, you should be allowed to make jokes about absolutely anything.’

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In NZ the Jacinda government and many of its supporters have spear-headed cancel culture, see this post on her latest incarnation.