John Cleese has caused offence to the people of Liverpool by making a joke about the old stereotype that Scousers are thieves.
The 81-year-old Fawlty Towers star was responding to the news that car manufacturer Ford is investing £230m at its Merseyside factory.
Cleese tweeted: "Delighted to see Ford is creating 500 more jobs on Merseyside.
"Let's hope nobody half-inches the plant."
Delighted to see Ford is creating 500 more jobs on Merseyside
Let's hope nobody half-inches the plant
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) October 18, 2021
"Half-inch" is rhyming slang for steal (pinch). People from Liverpool are traditionally known as Scousers after the Scouse stew which originates from the area.
Many Twitter users responded to Cleese's tweet to say they were "disappointed" by the "tired old stereotype" and called it a "lazy joke".
Scouserella tweeted: "Not all us scousers are thieves sick of being tarred with the same stereotypical brush. You get thieves everywhere but us scousers are the best, funniest and most kind hearted of all."
Ian McNabb pointed out that Liverpudlian and Beatle George Harrison’s production company HandMade Films had financed Cleese's 1979 film Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
And another Twitter user accused Cleese of stealing a joke from the 1980s.
It was recently revealed that Cleese is set to front a new TV series exploring the phenomenon of cancel culture.
The Monty Python star will meet both those affected by being cancelled and those who are behind the cancelling in Channel 4 series John Cleese: Cancel Me.
He will question whether it is possible to make good comedy without offending someone, and look at the effects on the lives of people who have caused outrage with their work or comments.
One of Cleese's best known series is the 70s sitcom Fawlty Towers, which saw him on the receiving end of cancel culture last year when an episode titled The Germans was labelled with a content warning after briefly being removed from the BBC and UKTV while it was reviewed.
Watch: John Cleese on cancel culture