Actor Brian Cox, known for his role as Logan Roy in the HBO hit series Succession and the villainous William Stryker in X2: X-Men United, opened up about his thoughts on woke culture, labelling “shaming culture” as a millennial fad stemming from misguided principles.
In a recent interview with Fox Nation host Piers Morgan, Cox was asked whether things are worse now in America under Biden than they were under Trump, when taken into account the influence social media may have had in people’s perception of reality, the Succession star agrees that these platforms aren’t helping.
“Well, I don’t think social media helps. It hinders rather than helps. And I think it points up too readily inadequacies that we can actually… and the whole woke culture — well, we’ve talked about this before — but the whole woke culture… I think is truly awful,” he asserted, agreeing with Morgan that “shaming culture” is also a factor.
Cox continued, “And I don’t think where it comes from. I don’t know who… who are the arbiters of this shaming? And it’s very hard to pin them down, and it turns out it’s usually a bunch of Millennials.”
“I suppose, in a way, [Millennials] are probably saying, ‘Well, you’ve all screwed it up so we may as well do something about it.’ But it’s from the wrong principle. It’s the wrong… it comes from the wrong place.”
As the interview progresses, Morgan points out that the Chichester Festival Theatre added a trigger warning to a new production of The Sound of Music because “the musical touches on Nazi Germany and the annexation of Austria,” noting that in today’s political climate audiences “need to be warned” about such content.
“This is what I mean. This is what I can’t stand,” prefaced Cox. “I can’t stand the way we want to rewrite history. I can’t stand the way we don’t want to acknowledge history. And it’s so important to acknowledge what our history is because that defines who we are and where we’ve got to.”
He elaborates, “And without acknowledging history we are screwed. You’re well and truly screwed, and I think we’ve not done that nearly enough.” Both Cox and Morgan agree that it is other people “deciding we ought to be [offended]” rather than artists themselves.
The Succession star brings up the fairly recent censoring of British author Roald Dahl — widely known for writing all-time classics such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG — having some of his books rewritten to remove words that readers might deem offensive.
Newer editions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for example, no longer refer to glutton kid Augustus Gloop as “fat,” as the term has since been edited and changed to “enormous” in its stead, as well as Oompa Loompas, who are now gender neutral.
“Well, you know, we had the whole thing with Roald Dah, which is disgraceful,” Cox asserted. “Absolutely disgraceful. I mean, Roald Dahl is a, you know, he was a difficult man but he wrote some amazing stuff.”
He later adds, “It also comes from complete ignorance. It’s an ignorant state that creates this sort of ‘Oh! That’s bad. That’s good.’ Yeah, I mean, it’s ridiculous to say. Of course, you know, that’s what happened. People escaped. That’s what they did in The Sound of Music, that’s what it’s about. Von Trapp family, you know.”
“And we don’t need to be told, ‘Oh, that’s… just remind you that’s it.’ And, you know, you might be upset. I mean, it’s also we have to acknowledge our history. Constantly,” Cox said.
He then reiterated, “We have to know where we are. We have to know what we’ve done and how we’ve got here. And it’s a bit of a mess.”
Briefly touching on the comments made by Michael Sheen, who recently said that it was “very hard to for me to accept” seeing actors who aren’t Welsh playing Welsh roles, Cox rebukes, declaring, “I don’t find that hard to accept, if they can do the work. I mean, I played [Labour Party politician] Nye Bevin [and] I’m a Scott [and] I played a Welshman.”
Morgan brings up that Stanley Tucci said it was “fine” for straight actors to play gay roles, and the Succession star not only agrees, but reveals that playing gay roles opened up many doors earlier in his acting career.
“Of course! I played gay roles,” Cox explained. “It was great. I always got… it was great, especially when, in the old days, I used to get upgraded because I played a gay role. It was very useful. ”
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