Russian leader Vladimir Putin brought up one of the internet’s most controversial figures in a speech on Friday, claiming that the West likes to “cancel people,” and referenced Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and her stance on transgender issues, saying she was canceled because she “didn’t satisfy the demands of gender rights.” He then added, “They are trying to cancel our country.”
“It’s impossible to imagine such a thing in our country”
President Vladimir Putin uses J K Rowling as an example of Western cynicism and “cancel culture”, which he says is currently being aimed at Russia.
Latest on Ukraine: https://t.co/XTFXr6HmAe
Sky 501 and YouTube pic.twitter.com/TyH9lddC5k
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 25, 2022
The author took to Twitter to respond to Putin’s comments, saying “Critiques of Western cancel culture are possibly not best made by those currently slaughtering civilians for the crime of resistance, or who jail and poison their critics. #IStandWithUkraine.” She included a link to a story from October 2021 which claims one of Russia’s “extremists” was poisoned by the Russian government in 2020, and is now behind bars.
Critiques of Western cancel culture are possibly not best made by those currently slaughtering civilians for the crime of resistance, or who jail and poison their critics. #IStandWithUkraine https://t.co/aNItgc5aiW
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) March 25, 2022
Putin was referencing all of the many, many times J.K. Rowling has made transphobic comments, which has caused a once-beloved author to be despised by so many. Even those who worked on the monumental franchise have distanced themselves from the author. So, for some reason, Putin believed that this was comparable to Russia invading Ukraine.
“We remember the footage when they were burning books,” he said, comparing ‘cancel culture’ to the Nazis burning books in the 1930s. “It is impossible to imagine such a thing in our country and we are insured against this thanks to our culture. And it’s inseparable for us from our motherland, from Russia, where there is no place for ethnic intolerance, where for centuries representatives from dozens of ethnic groups have been living together.”
Obviously, this has sparked some interesting Twitter responses, since we must be living in some sort of alternate reality, right?
Vladimir Putin referencing JK Rowling in a speech about cancel culture is so batshit that even if it happened in a dream I would be like “wtf that can’t be real” and yet it is our reality
— Arthur Webber (@BernieTranders) March 25, 2022
“Putin defends JK Rowling over trans rights” is a news item perfectly designed to destroy the brains of british columnists and for that you have to respect him
— Ed (@ted_pen) March 25, 2022
— Maureen Johnson (@maureenjohnson) March 25, 2022
When JK Rowling sat in that cafe all those years ago, there’s no way she could have known she’d one day be endorsed by Vladimir Putin. Never give up on your dreams.
— James Felton (@JimMFelton) March 25, 2022
Instead of commenting further, Rowling tweeted out a link to her own charity organization that is currently assisting children in Ukraine.