Mr. Bean committed to legalizing the insult in the UK
The news can be seen laughing and even if the star of the campaign is a great comedian and actor as Rowan Atkinson. But the news is very serious and has much to do with freedom of expression and a law from 1986 prohibiting the use of "insulting words" in the UK.
Rowan Atkinson, in his most serious facet said: "The clear problem of the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such. Criticism, ridicule, sarcasm, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy, can be interpreted as insult.".
The British actor is tired of seeing the "progressive culture of censorship" in the UK and even more so when he witnessed the arrest of a Christian preacher, a critic of Scientology which was accused because he stood outside the headquarters Londoner of the Church of Scientology with a banner reading: "Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult.". And even in 2005, a student was arrested when he made a joke to a cop on his horse when asked: "Excuse me, are you aware that your horse is gay?".
To not dwell much on boring subjects of law and policy, just say that one of the paragraphs of Chapter Five of the Public Order Act in the UK, says:
"5 Harassment, alarm or distress.
(1)A person is guilty of an offence if he—
(a)uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or
(b)displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,
within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby."
Rowan Atkinson is not alone in this campaign, accompanying other familiar faces as comedian, actor, director and writer Stephen Fry, and the Conservative MP David Davis, who said that "in a free society there is no right to be offended . During centuries, freedom of expression has been vital to life in the UK. repeal that law means reinstate that right: "in a free society there is no right to be offended. During centuries, freedom of expression has been vital to life in the UK. repeal that law means reinstate that right.".
A great example, perhaps somewhat exaggerated, that laws must be met but also can change to a more open free speech but with all due respect not considered rude.